Guiding Teachers

A Guiding Teacher is one of the leaders of the organization. They have multiple years of practice, retreats, and teaching experience, have received transmission from senior Buddhist teacher(s), and are able to offer transmission to others.

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Pascal (he, him) is a TNI Guiding Teacher. He has been immersed in the dharma since 1997. He leads retreats in Europe and North America, often at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts and at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. A co-founder of TNI, he enjoys sharing the Buddha's teachings with all curious people.  (more info and schedule)
Watch one of Pascal's videos:  But Now it Can Be Otherwise 
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A dedicated practitioner of Vipassana (insight) meditation, Roxanne Dault (she, her) has sat many long retreats in Asia and in the West, spending more than two years in silence since 2006. Roxanne has been involved with True North Insight since its beginning, where she now also teaches weekly sits and residential retreats. She is involved in different projects to share the Dharma in the West. She is currently part of the four-year Insight Meditation Society (IMS) Teacher Training. Her teaching is influenced by indigenous spiritual practices, her many travels and her experience in Somatic Experiencing®, a body-mind approach aimed at relieving the symptoms of trauma. Roxanne wants to share her love for the Dharma so that we can all touch the freedom in every moment! She speaks French, English and is learning her ancestors' language, Anishinaabemowin. (more info and schedule)
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Bonnie Duran
Bonnie Duran met the Dharma in 1982 when she sat a month at Kopan Monastery in Nepal and learned Vipassana in Bodh Gaya India. Since then, she has taken teachings from many western teachers including Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Guy and Sally Armstrong as well as Thai, Burmese, and Tibetan Monastic teachers.. Bonnie is a graduate of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS)/Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) retreat teacher-training program. She is now a core-teacher of the IMS Teacher Training Program, the SRMC Dedicated Practitioners Program and is on the SRMC Guiding Teachers Council. Bonnie teaches long and short retreats at IMS, Spirit Rock and in other communities, and is also involved in Native American spiritual practices and traditions. Bonnie was introduced to the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition through her partner and is now happily studying and practicing in that tradition as well. Dr. Duran is a Professor in the Schools of Social Work and Public Health at the University of Washington and is also faculty at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. Her academic work is primarily with Tribal, Urban Indian and International Indigenous communities.
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Jean Esther, MSW
Beginning her formal training in meditation in 1975, Jean has trained in the Buddhist Theravadan tradition with renowned senior lay teachers as well as Burmese and Western Monastics since 1982. Over a number of years, Jean has engaged in intensive teacher training in both Vipassana practice and non-dual awareness. Her teaching is also informed by over 40 years of practice as a psychotherapist, focusing on the healing of trauma through an embodied somatic approach. She trained for over 20 years in Jungian psychology with Jungian analyst Marion Woodman. Respecting all of life through a social justice understanding informs her life and her teaching. Jean teaches at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, USA, Insight Meditation Community of Western MA, USA as well as various other locations across the US and Canada. Jean has served on the Guiding Teachers Council of True North Insight since 2015.
Muriel Jaouich
Muriel Jaouich
Muriel (she, her) is engaged in a Buddhist practice since 2006. Muriel has attended over thirty silent meditation retreats including a 6 week long retreat. She has completed seven years of Buddhist studies as well as a MBSR training with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Muriel is a first generation Lebanese-Armenian-Canadian, having come from a family directly affected by the Armenian Genocide. At True North Insight, Muriel is under the mentorship of Pascal Auclair & Daryl Lynn Ross. She teaches in hospitals, schools, corporations and other urban settings, helping meditation practitioners integrate mindfulness into daily life. In another life, Muriel has worked at Cisco Systems & VeriSign back in the height of Silicon Valley as well as at UNICEF. She now shares her passion for the Dharma by working for True North Insight. Muriel has a warm and gentle presence. She is also presently pursuing a Master's in Fine Arts (MFA) at Concordia university in painting.
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Dawn (she, her) has been practicing and studying Insight Meditation since 2005, and has graduated from the first teacher development group of True North Insight, and Spirit Rock's Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training, Dedicated Practitioners' Program, and 4-year Retreat Teacher Training. She is known to teach with a playful, dynamic, and heartfelt approach, and leads daylongs, retreats, yearlong programs, and mindfulness workshops in Canada and the US for Spirit Rock, True North Insight, and for teens with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. Dawn is also the author of “Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners”. For more information, visit dawnmauricio.com.
Daryl Lynn Ross
Daryl (she, her) is a founder of TNI and a guiding teacher. She has deeply engaged in contemplative practices for over 40 years with teachers and mentors from several Buddhist traditions, and practiced Christian spirituality as well. She served for 22 years as University Chaplain at Concordia University in Montreal. Co-founder of TNI and President of the Board, Daryl teaches local groups and intensive courses, mentors and counsels in personal meetings and offers a wide range of retreats. She lives and transmits the Buddhist teachings from the heart with a sensitivity to the unique path of each person. 
Listen to one of Daryl's talks:  Development of Meditative Awareness
Watch one of Daryl's videos:  What is Calling Us Forward

 

Teachers

A Teacher has received transmission from a senior Dhamma teacher and is now able to offer transmission to others. They are often Visiting Teachers from other centers or organizations.

Devin Berry
Nakawe Cuebas Berrios
For over 20 years nakawe has and continues to be a practitioner in the Buddha Dharma. Her first Buddhist teacher was Goenka. Graduate of the Spirit Rock Dedicated Practitioners Program, Community Dharma Leaders Program and the IMS Teacher Trainer Program. At present she teaches retreats and is a community Insight Meditation teacher with New York Insight and other centers. Working as a Midwife for 40 years. Her ancestral home is Puerto Rico, blending the Spanish, African and Taino Indian roots that flow from her ancestors, that give her guidance and strength. Nakawe believes we all have the potential to live a life of wisdom and compassion. These are the teachings of liberation that she wants to share.
 
Devin Berry
Devin Berry
Devin began his practice with Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village sangha and has been practicing Insight meditation since 1999. He teaches regularly at Insight Meditation Society (IMS). Devin has a love of both daily life and long retreat practices that point to liberative teachings of the Buddha. He has undertaken many periods of silent long-term practice. Devin was formerly a community teacher at East Bay Meditation center in Oakland, CA where he co-founded both the teen and men of color sangha. He co-founded Deep Time Liberation, an ancestral healing journey that explores the impact of ancestral legacy and intergenerational trauma on Black Americans. He recently relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Western Massachusetts and teaches nationally.
 
Jill Davey
Jill Davey
Jill Davey (she/they) is the founder of RiverSound Retreat and Insight Meditation Fergus. Since their first meditation retreat in 2008, Jill has been devoted to the study and practice of Vipassana (Insight Meditation) and sharing this understanding with others. Having been mentored and invited to teach by Molly Swan and Norman Feldman, Jill is a teacher with True North Insight. Jill is particularly interested in connecting the relevance of these ancient teachings of awareness, wisdom and kindness to daily life experience. Jill brings years of previous experience as a community worker to their teaching and is actively committed to the ongoing dismantling of internalized and systemic privilege.
 
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Alisa Dennis
Alisa Dennis, Ph.D., discovered meditation through her study of metaphysics and ancient mystical traditions during the 1980s. Since then, she’s trained in the Soto Zen tradition, MBSR, and most recently in the Theravadan tradition. Alisa has gravitated toward Insight meditation because of its emphasis on liberatory heart-opening practices and its growing community of practitioners committed to embodied awakening and transformative justice. Alisa has also studied shamanism and considers Nature one of her wisest teachers. She is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, where she specializes in somatic therapies, including traumatic release and integration work, all of which inform her teaching. Alisa enjoys the creative arts and invites creativity into her practice and teaching of the Dharma. She is a teacher at Insight L.A and serves on the Teacher’s Council at Dhamma Dena in Joshua Tree. Alisa teaches at Spirit Rock and other retreat centers around the country. She offers trainings in mindfulness for community-based organizations and corporations around the world.
 
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Norman Feldman
Norman is a co-founder of TNI and a former guiding teacher. He has been practicing vipassana since 1971, including long periods in India, and in Thailand and Sri Lanka. He has been teaching internationally since 1986. As well as formal retreats, Norman leads programmes that integrate the practice into daily life. www.insightmeditationretreats.ca. 
Listen to one of Norman's talks: Dukkha and the End of Dukkha
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Anushka Fernandopulle
Anushka has trained for over 30 years in the Theravada Buddhist tradition in the U.S., India, and Sri Lanka and is a member of the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Anushka teaches retreats and workshops around the globe. Her teaching is informed by nature, creative arts, political engagement, innovation and modern urban life. Anushka also works as a leadership coach and management consultant, influenced by a BA in anthropology and religion from Harvard and an MBA from Yale. She lives in San Francisco.
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Jozen Tamori Gibson
Jozen (they, them) a meditation practitioner and guide, began formal meditation practice in 2004 through Sotō Zen while living in Japan, joined by a Theravada practice in 2010. Jozen serves on the New York Insight Meditation Center’s Teachers Council. In 2017 they entered into the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) Dharma Teacher Training program. Jozen carries certifications in Mindfulness Facilitation through the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, 200-Hour Yoga and Wellness with Breathe for Change (RYS), and Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma (IFOT). Jozen lives to provide and nourish contemplative mind-heart-body alignment practices and spaces grounded in health, anti-oppression and interdependent liberation for all beings. Jozen honors the wisdom and compassion of all teachers, highlighting their mother, Akimi, and dharma root teacher, Pamela Weiss.
Jeff Houzous
Jeff Haozous
Jeff Haozous has practiced insight meditation for 25 years and taught it for 18 years, initially with a meditation group in Lawton, Oklahoma. He has completed Spirit Rock’s Teacher Training, Community Dharma Leader, and Dedicated Practitioner’s programs. Jeff has taught at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, Vallecitos Retreat Center, and Dhamma Dena Meditation Center. A Chiricahua Apache and former longtime tribal leader, Jeff enjoys sharing teachings with other Native Americans through Indigenous People’s retreats and a weekly meditation group offered through indigenousinsight.org. He also supports the Dharma through his role as Executive Director at Dharma Treasure, a small retreat center at the Cochise Stronghold, a sacred site located in his tribe’s aboriginal homeland in southeast Arizona.
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Steven Hick
Steven is a former social work professor and founder of War Child Canada, dove into the Dharma full-time in 2005. He has since founded the Ottawa Insight Meditation Community and now teaches insight meditation with an emphasis on reducing the stress in our daily life. He is Director of MBSR Ottawa where he established MBSR teacher training in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Alberta. Steven has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1979 with a variety of teachers, including Matthew Flickstein, Adyashanti, Bhagavan Shanmukha and Thich Nhat Hanh.
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Kate Johnson
Kate Johnson is a Buddhist meditation teacher and writer who loves integrating embodiment, justice, and the practice of wise relationship in all of her work. She is the author of the book Radical Friendship: Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Find Your People in an Unjust World. She has taught meditation and creative movement practices as social change methodologies in public schools, community health centers, activist organizations and performance collectives for over a decade, and was fully empowered as an independent Dharma teacher in 2020, in the western Insight/Theravada Buddhist lineage through Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s four-year teacher training. Kate is also an utterly unprofessional dancer who holds a BFA in Dance from the Alvin Ailey School/ Fordham University, a MA in Performance Studies from NYU. Most recently, most profoundly, most ordinarily — Kate is a mother. These days, you can find her writing, teaching, and facilitating online and in her home city of Philadelphia, where she can be found in the off hours exploring with her kids, sipping tea with friends, and looking for all manner of good trouble. Check her out at www.katejohnson.com
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Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey
Jesse 's meditation teaching aims to inspire the faith, determination and skill necessary to realize the deepest human freedom. He is the resident teacher of Vipassana Hawaii and co-founder of The Stone House, a center for spiritual life and social justice in Mebane, NC.
Listen to one of Jesse's talks:  Training for our Own Unbinding
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Michele McDonald
Michele has taught insight meditation around the world for 31 years, helping individuals to find their own natural entry points into stillness and deep liberation. She is a cofounder of  Vipassana Hawaii, as well as a leader of retreats for youth and Burma relief projects.
Listen to one of Michele's talks:  Wise Investigation
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Yong Oh
Yong’s initial doorway into the Dharma was through Soto Zen. His love for Vipassana began with his, then and now, primary teachers Kittisaro and Thanissara. He is currently a Dharma Council teacher at the Durango Dharma Center, teaches for the Chattanooga Insight Meditation group, and is currently on the Leadership Council for Thanissara and Kittisaro’s Sacred Mountain Sangha. Yong is a graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leaders program and is currently a participant in the 2017-2021 Insight Meditation Society Retreat Teacher Training program as well as the Sacred Mountain Sangha Dharmapala program. Yong is also an acupuncturist, loves the outdoors and bringing the practice of meditation into nature, and aspires to support practitioners of color in the Dharma.
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Molly Swan
Molly is a co-founder of TNI and a former guiding teacher. She has been engaging in spiritual inquiry and dharma practice since 1985, both in Asia and the West. She has been teaching Insight Meditation retreats primarily in Canada since 1997 and offers classes, retreat days & individual support closer to their home in Guelph, Ontario. 
Listen to one of Molly's talks:  Reconciliation and Renewal
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U Jagara
U Jagara is Canadian-born and has been a Buddhist monk for 37 years, primarily in Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Burma). He has trained and taught in the U Ba Khin as well as the Pa-Auk traditions of Myanmar (Burma), where he is presently living, dedicating his time to meditation and study.
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DaRa Williams
DaRa has practiced vipassana meditation for 25 years and serves as an IMS guiding teacher. She is also a certified coordinating trainer for Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Complex Trauma Therapy and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in the New York City area. "It is my experience that meditation and the Dharma are ideal for transforming suffering. Awareness, wisdom and a compassionate heart become the vehicle for transformation, connection and freedom."

Community Meditation Teacher

 A Community Meditation Teacher has completed a mentoring program with our Guiding Teachers.

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Joan Robicheau
Joan has been an ESL teacher for over 30 years and a meditation practitioner for the past 15 years. She has been involved in the TNI prison meditation programme since it began, and has been a regular teacher in that programme for the past two years. She also teaches at Yoga on the Park, substituting for Daryl Lynn Ross, and leads a weekly mindfulness meditation session in a Montreal-area business.

Peer Group Leaders

A Peer Group Leader is an experienced practitioner. Some are now receiving one-on-one mentoring with a Guiding Teacher.

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Pierre-Vincent Breault-Ruel
Pierre-Vincent (he, they) has been practising and teaching meditation and yoga for about a dozen years. He studied primarily at the Insight Meditation Society and at the Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies in Massachusetts, with many senior teachers like Sharon Salzberg and Bhikkhu Analayo, and in Montreal with Pascal Auclair and Daryl Lynn Ross. He pursued a mentorship with Arinna Weisman and was invited to participate in Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leaders program in 2019. Pierre-Vincent also has a Master's in Social Work and is now in medical school at University of Sherbrooke. He's interested in holistic healing approaches. His dharma practice and teachings are infused with wisdom, compassion and playfulness, and his social and environmental activism. For more information: www.lesirop.org
Tatiana Castellanos
Tatiana Castellanos
Tatiana (she/they) is a Colombian born and Canada-rooted artist and mindfulness/yoga educator. She believes creative expression is a key to healing and self awareness. It is through the path of self exploration and spirituality that Tatiana found meditation and yoga in 2008, later focusing on studying and practicing Insight Meditation circa 2013. Since then, she has made art, meditation and healing her life path, using them as a tool for trauma healing, community care and transformative justice. For several years Tatiana has worked facilitating workshops for children and adults in different settings: community centers, hospitals, seniors homes among others, integrating nature and indigenous spiritual practices in her teachings. This experience motivated her to work towards the goal of decolonizing holistic pathways in making this medley of practices available to all, especially BIPOC people in underserved communities. Tatiana has a Mindfulness training, is currently pursuing a training in the Insight Buddhist tradition and attends residential retreats periodically.
Naazneen Diwan
Naazneen Diwan
Naazneen Diwan is a poet, social justice educator, and healing arts and meditation facilitator. With a PhD in Gender Studies from UCLA, her greatest accomplishments to date will always include learning how to eat a mango on a train without a knife and her Arabic 101 skit Freshman year of college about the moral consequences of cheating.
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Gilberte Fleischmann
Stemming from her experience as a caregiver with her cousin, who suffered from OCD, as well as with her father, who died from Alzheimer’s disease, Gilberte Fleischmann first gave talks at the Alzheimer’s Association of Montreal, then facilitated support groups for caregivers. At the same time, she began meditating in a deeper and deeper way, and after a 6-week retreat in the US, she offered to facilitate support groups with meditation for the Alzheimer’s Association of Montreal, which they accepted. He also gave talks on stress and caregivers with meditation. Since September 2020, Gilberte, Joan Robicheau, Benoît Ouimet and Jill Davey lead online weekly meditation groups for caregivers in French and in English.
 
Gail Horner
Gail Horner
Gail Horner first came to meditation in the late 80's after reading Joan Borysenko's Minding the Body, Mending the Heart. This inspired her to begin a meditation practice which she developed over the next several years with the help of the writings of many of the teachers in the Theravada tradition. In 2009 she found True North Insight, following which she completed 4 years of intensive studies with Daryl Lynn Ross and Matthew Flickstein. During those studies and annually since, week long and weekend retreats have become an essential part of her practice. She has taught Introduction to Meditation and started a community Sangha in 2013 which is ongoing. As a result of engaging in the Satipatthana Intensive at TNI in 2010 she has joined with 4 other participants in ongoing book studies of the Dharma which continue to this day. Sangha has become a true refuge for Gail and she is forever grateful for her teachers and dear friends.
Gail Horner
K Laspruce
K first came to formal meditation practice at a retreat in 2006, and has been practicing and learning about embodiment and present moment awareness ever since. They studied with Daryl Lynn Ross in the Living the Heart of Wisdom program in 2017-2018, and co-led TNI’s francophone White Awake group with Pascal Auclair in 2021. They have offered meditation in a queer group based in Bulbancha/New Orleans since 2018, and are a participant in TNI’s Community Meditation Teacher Mentorship program.
Michelle Nicholls
Michelle Nicholls
is a social worker-therapist living in Toronto. She began exploring secular mindfulness meditation in 2005, as a pathway to spirituality, and to find steadiness in her work-life balance. For the past seven years, Michelle has attended the POC retreats at IMS, which continues to support her in deepening her own practice. Michelle holds Level A and B certificates in Applied Mindfulness Meditation from U of T. Her therapeutic work involves radical acceptance, and compassionate mindfulness-based approaches to counselling individuals and groups.She is truly grateful for the teachings of DaRa Williams, Gina Sharpe, Larry Yang, JoAnna Harper and Joseph Goldstein. Michelle hopes to carry on their vision of inclusion and diversity in the Sangha, through acts of service that will support and sustain the meditation practices for marginalized community members.
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Benoit Ouimet
Benoit’s first experience with vipassana meditation was in the early 2000’s at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, thanks to a friend, Pascal Auclair. A seed was sown. Since then, he has returned many times to study with inspiring teachers who have immersed themselves in this practice for decades. Over time, many long silent retreats have allowed him to deepen his understanding of these very precious Buddhist teachings.
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Coral Short
Coral Short is a white non binary human who was born in 1973. They have practiced in the tradition of Insight/ Theravada for 15 years. They have meditated over 100 consecutive days in silent retreat at Insight Meditation Society, as well as many Goenka Vipassana and True North Insight retreats. Coral has completed 4 years of intensive Buddhist studies in a course called Living the Heart of Wisdom with True North Insight. They are currently in teacher training with the TNI Mentorship program in Tiohtià:ke, colonially known as Montréal, Québec. They are offering the first online White Awake course in English at TNI this year. Coral studies both Generative Somatics and Somatic Experiencing and is interested in how this combines with meditation. During the last year of the pandemic they have been offering weekly youtubes on the True North Insight channel. Coral is one of the co-founders of Queer Sangha in Montréal. They have been co-leading queer sanghas for 6 years in Montréal and Berlin. https://www.facebook.com/queersangha