We encourage students to go on retreats with and learn from exceptional teachers. We only recommend teachers we have met in person.
Why is a teacher important? Ken McLeod take on this question:
“A lot of people in this culture think they can travel the spiritual path on their own. I don’t agree. The teacher has three responsibilities: to show you what being awake means — and they do it through their own actions and various other means; to teach and train you in the techniques you are going to need; and thirdly, to point out your own mistaken view which is getting in your way. This is the uncomfortable part. I don’t see how anyone can fulfill these three functions for themselves.“
Other articles about choosing a teacher and community:
“The Dos and Don’ts of Picking a Spiritual Master” by Joel and Michelle Levey
Below is a list of recommended teachers.
- Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced “Tic-Nat-Han”). Vietnamese Zen teacher who started a number of retreat centers in the West: Plum Village in France, Blue Cliff Monastery in New York, and Deer Park Monastery in California. His teaching places a big emphasis on integrating the practice into daily life. Very gentle approach. You do not need to go on a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh himself, any retreat in this tradition will give you the instructions in this method.
- Ken McLeod. A Western Dharma teacher (who grew up in Mississauga!) who invokes direct experience in students to show them what a teaching means. He is currently not teaching retreats, but we highly recommend his books and audio Dharma talks.
- Joel and Michelle Levey. These two are tapped into the source. They have studied under many teachers, one of them being Kalu Rinpoche, who also taught Ken McLeod. Highly recommended.
- John Kabat-Zinn. Founder of MBSR.
- David Loy. Zen teacher, eloquent speaker, and strong focus on ecological issues.
- Ngakpa Chögyam. This Western Dharma teacher operates world-wide, and teaches in New York and Britain. His books provide astoundingly clear and extensive explanations of topics including Dzogchen, and the Five Wisdoms.