Recommended Teachers

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:

Below is a list of recommended teachers.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. John Kabat-Zinn. Founder of MBSR.
  5. David Loy. Zen teacher, eloquent speaker, and strong focus on ecological issues.
  6. 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.