Having taught formal retreats since 1986, my current interest is in supporting individuals and groups in integrating and applying the teachings and insights in daily life, and working with small groups in the exploration of the dharma for liberation of mind and heart. My talks draw on the traditional teachings and their pointing to liberation here and now.
Norman is a Zen priest and abbot, a husband, father, and a poet, a teacher with wide-ranging interests and passions. During almost 30 years at San Francisco Zen Center, he served as director, tenzo, tanto, operations manager and other positions. Norman retired as abbot of Zen Center in 2000 to take his teaching out into the world. He continues his involvement with the Zen Center as a senior Dharma teacher. Norman believes in the possibility of engaged renunciation: living a fully committed religious life that does not exclude family, work, and a passionate interest in the world. In addition to his teaching with the Everyday Zen sangha in the Bay Area, Norman is guiding teacher to four other groups: the Bellingham (WA) Zen Practice Group, the Mountain Rain Zen Community (Vancouver, BC., Mar de Jade (Mexico), and The New York Zen Circle (New York City).
Patricia Genoud-Feldman has been practicing Buddhist meditation (vipassana and Dzogchen) in Asia and the West since 1984 and teaching vipassana internationally since 1997. She is a co-founder and guiding teacher at the Meditation Centre Vimalakirti in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ramiro Ortega has practised Buddhist meditation since 2005 and has completed his training as a Dharma teacher with Bodhi College. He also teaches mindfulness courses and retreats. Ramiro has a background in Western philosophy and is interested in exploring the parallels between Ancient Greek philosophy and the Dharma. He is also a philosophical counsellor.
Tenshin Reb Anderson was born in Mississippi, grew up in Minnesota, and left advanced study in mathematics and Western psychology to come to Zen Center in 1967. He practiced with Suzuki Roshi, who ordained him as a priest in 1970 and gave him the name Tenshin Zenki ("Naturally Real, The Whole Works"). He received dharma transmission in 1983 and served as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center's three training centers (City Center, Green Gulch Farm, and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center) from 1986 to 1995. Tenshin Reb Anderson continues to teach at Zen Center, living with his family at Green Gulch Farm. He is author of Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains: Dharma Talks on Zen Meditation and Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts. Published in 2012: The Third Turning of the Wheel: Wisdom of the Samdhinirmocana Sutra, a guidebook to the workings of consciousness and compassionate awakening.
River Wolton attended her first Insight Meditation retreat in 2000, and subsequently helped to establish Sheffield Insight Meditation (UK). She is a Community Dharma Leader authorised by Gaia House Teacher Council, and has completed Dharma Teacher Training with Bodhi College. A former Derbyshire Poet Laureate, she has led writing and arts projects for many years, and is an activist in the LGBTQI+ community.
ROB BURBEA (1965-2020) was Gaia House’s much-loved resident teacher for 10 years from 2005 - 2015, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During his time at Gaia House, Rob wrote Seeing that Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising (seeingthatfrees.com) – an important and influential work that continues to shape and open the meditative exploration of many. Emerging from this deep experiential understanding of emptiness, Rob dedicated much of his time and energy during the last years of his life to conceiving, developing, and establishing a new body of teachings that he called ‘A Soulmaking Dharma’. Before his death, Rob initiated the Hermes Amara Foundation (HAF), an organisation that is working to preserve and develop Rob's vast Dharma teaching legacy, and to support practitioners and teachers who are engaged with these teachings. All donations go directly to HAF - your financial support is much needed if Rob’s legacy is to sustain and thrive. To join the HAF mailing list and find out more about Rob's work please go to hermesamara.org or get in touch at email@example.com. Rob was also a guiding teacher of Freely Given Retreats (freelygivenretreats.org), a co-founder of Sanghaseva, an organisation exploring the Dharma through international service work (sanghaseva.org) and a co-initiator of DANCE, the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (thedancewebsite.org).
More and more, the teaching practice takes me into the community where I engage directly with students. My focus right now is on bringing the continuity of the Dharma into the market place. Although retreating is an important form for self-knowledge, I find myself less interested in the immediate results of a retreat and more interested in helping students investigate their relationship to the ups and downs of their everyday life.
Nature, death and spontaneous freedom continually interweave themselves into my teaching. From the forest of Thailand, where I spent several years, I bring a deep awareness of the healing quality of nature into my teachings. Relaxing into our true nature allows us to realize what it means to be a human being. It is here we find a resting point, a counterbalance to the speed and turbulence of our culture.
My work in hospice brings a sense of urgency into my teaching. Working with the theme of death and dying reveals the here and now of life to us, how important it is to open to each loss, change and transition that marks our path. Life is precious. We need to awaken without hesitation.
Many of us crave to be more calm and centered. We know that life has more to offer than this fleeting material world. For each of us, the Dharma offers an immediacy of freedom for which we do not have to strive or wait. In practice, we can learn to relax deeply into the moment and rediscover spontaneous freedom.