Spirit Rock retreats are led by authorized Spirit Rock teachers and by visiting teachers from other vipassanā centers such as Insight Meditation Society (IMS) and Insight Meditation Center (IMC). Classes and other non-retreat programs may also be led by approved guest teachers. Explore our teachers below, and use the Teacher Listing page to find teachers by role, affinity, or teaching schedule.
Guiding Teachers Council
The Guiding Teachers Council (GTC) is composed of senior Dharma teachers in the Insight Meditation lineage, and holds the responsibility for the spiritual direction and vision of the organization and its programs. The 2023 GTC includes: John Martin (Co‐Chair), Tuere Sala (Co-Chair), Andrea Fella, Bonnie Duran, Gullu Singh, Kate Munding, Noliwe Alexander, Tempel Smith, and Tara Mulay.
Residential Retreat & Dharma Training Teachers
Retreat teachers have generally practiced Insight Meditation for more than 20 years. Many have trained in the monasteries of Asia. Over the years, they have each been invited into a formal teacher training group by the most senior teachers based on their depth of practice, maturity of understanding, and compassionate heart.
The four-to-six-year teacher training they received incorporates systematic study of Buddhist texts, extensive training in meditation practices and techniques, study of our Buddhist lineage and history, and teacher role studies. It also includes hundreds of hours of practice interviews and assisting at many retreats and classes as preparation for assuming full teacher status. Spirit Rock teachers lead classes and retreats both locally and nationwide.
They also continue as students themselves, dedicated to ongoing study and Dharma practice, and to deepening their understanding and embodiment of the Buddha's teachings. The Spirit Rock Guiding Teachers Council has the responsibility for the spiritual direction and vision of the organization and its programs.
Our lineage is rooted in the Theravāda (“Way of the Elders”) traditions of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka), and we maintain a close relationship with monastics in each of these traditions. In addition to our lay teachers studying with monastics and in many cases spending time as monastics themselves, we regularly host monastics at Spirit Rock, bringing their distinct approach to our community.
Drawing on our connection to the Thai tradition through our founder Jack Kornfield’s training as a monk with beloved Thai master Ajahn Chah, we have a special ongoing relationship with the Forest Saṅgha, the international order of monastics founded by Ajahn Chah. In addition, we support the lineage of bhikkhunīs, fully-ordained Theravāda nuns, reestablished in Bodhgayā, India in 1998. Monastics from Abhayagiri (Ukiah) and Āloka Vihāra regularly teach at Spirit Rock, including Ajahns Amaro, Pasanno, and Karunadhammo from Abhayagiri, and Ayyas Ānandabodhī and Santacittā from Āloka Vihāra.
Many of our teachers have connections to the Burmese monastic tradition through contemporary teachers such as Sayādaw U Tejaniya and Pa Auk Sayādaw, and through the root teachers of the Mahāsī tradition, Mahāsī Sayādaw and U Paṇḍitā Sayādaw. Scholar and translator Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu from Wat Mettā is a beloved guest teacher in our Dharma Training Programs, as are scholars Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhikkhu Anālayo from the Sri Lankan tradition.
Spirit Rock regularly hosts guest teachers from other Buddhist and non-Buddhist lineages to teach. Guest teachers are approved based on assessment of their depth of practice, teaching authorization in their lineage, and connection with our core teachings of Insight Meditation.
We maintain close relationships with complementary Buddhist traditions, including Mahāyāna (Zen, Ch'an, Sôn, Thiền, and Pure Land) and Vajrayāna (Tibetan and others) teachers. Some of the most respected teachers from these traditions, such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh have taught at Spirit Rock, along with Lama Tsultrim Allione, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Lama Rod Owens, Dr. Jan Willis, Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ven. Anam Thubten, and many others.
Our guest teachers also include graduates of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader training, and movement teachers who have graduated from our Dharma Yoga & Meditation Training.
Explore Our Teachers
Explore the Spirit Rock teaching saṅgha, where you can search by type of teacher, affinity, or upcoming teaching schedule.
Dāna (pronounced “daa-nuh”) is the Pāli word for giving. Dāna is the first perfection of the heart (pāramī), and the foundation of Buddhist practice, based in the understanding that giving opens the heart, creates connection to others, and teaches letting go.
When teachers offer retreats on-land at Spirit Rock (or 4+ day online retreats), they receive dāna as an expression of gratitude. This dāna comes from the community of practitioners who participated in the retreat.
At the end of each retreat, participants are asked to offer dāna both to the teachers and to Spirit Rock. Typically, teachers receive no compensation for teaching at Spirit Rock beyond what practitioners give. Your gifts support teachers to continue their practice and teaching, maintaining the ancient system of interdependence between teachers and community.