Sayadaw U Tejaniya began his Buddhist training as a young teenager in Burma under the late Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (1913–2002). After a career in business and life as a householder, he has become a permanent monk since 1996. He teaches meditation at Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya in Rangoon, Burma.
Sayadaw’s relaxed demeanor and easy sense of humor can belie a commitment to awareness he encourages his students to apply in every aspect of their lives. His earlier life as a householder gives him a rare insight into the challenges faced by his lay students. His book, “Don’t Look Down on the Defilements, They Will Laugh at You”, aptly characterizes his teaching style—accessible and true to the traditional teachings of the Buddha.
Akincano Marc Weber (Switzerland) is a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist. He learned to sit still in the early eighties as a Zen practitioner and later joined monastic life in Ajahn Chah’s tradition where he studied and practiced for 20 years in the Forest monasteries of Thailand and Europe. He has studied Pali and scriptures, holds a a degree in Buddhist psychotherapy and lives with his wife in Cologne, Germany from where he teaches Dhamma and meditation internationally.
Teaching is essentially translation. It means ferrying an authentic contemplative tradition across choppy waters into our psychological and cultural realities, losing neither the vision nor the truth of what we know to be our immediate experience.
Andrea Fella is the co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center. She has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1996, and teaching Insight Meditation since 2003. She is particularly drawn to intensive retreat practice, and has done a number of long retreats, both in the United States and in Burma. During one long practice period in Burma, she ordained as a nun with Sayadaw U Janaka. Andrea is especially drawn to the wisdom teachings of the Buddha. Her teachings emphasize clarity and practicality. Andrea is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, and teaches residential retreats for IMC and other retreat centers around the country
Ariya B. Baumann left her career as a music and dance teacher in favour of her deep yearing to understand herself and the world. Based on her many years of practice, twenty-one of them as a nun in the Burmese tradition, she now lays a strong emphasis on the practice of loving-kindness (including metta chants) as a basis for the vipassana meditation practice. She has translated a number of Dhamma books from Burmese to English and German, among these are Mahasi Sayadaw’s ‘Manual of Insight’. She is a co-founder and president of ‘Metta In Action’ which supports a variety of social and medical projects throughout Burma, especially nunneries.
I have been teaching meditation since 2014, and the more I teach the more I love it. If there is one thing that I have learned in my years teaching it is that we are all different, with our own strengths and weaknesses. In order to teach well, I need to get to know each student individually, guiding each to tap into their own innate wisdom, offering instruction that fits each student’s unique circumstances. The ten years I spent as a Buddhist nun afforded me the great privilege of being able to practise meditation in much depth and detail. I was blessed with masterful teachers and all of the support I could have hoped for. I spent five years in Myanmar training diligently in the Theravada tradition under the guidance of Pa Auk Sayadaw. I then spent a further five years training in several other methods, and spent many months doing long solo retreats in various caves and forests.
The opportunity to practise meditation so comprehensively has been the greatest gift of my life. My passion is now to repay that debt of gratitude by providing the same opportunity to others. Since deciding to disrobe in 2018, I have been on a sharp and wonderful learning curve, reintegrating the challenges of western lay life into my Dhamma practice. Through this process not only has my appreciation of the Dhamma grown deeper, but also my understanding of the students I am teaching.
As well as teaching meditation I am also enthusiastic about building community. Over the past years I have been leading Sanditthika Meditation Community in the caves of Almeria, Southern Spain. I am also finding ways that we can support each other wherever we may be in the world. If this work interests you, I welcome you, either online, or in person, or both, to join our community.
Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide.
What I most love in my teaching practice is seeing students become dedicated to their own liberation. As their spiritual practice matures, people light up from within when they begin to understand that personal freedom is possible. This commitment to freedom on the part of the student inspires me to find ways to express my deepest understanding and enthusiasm for liberation.
The mindfulness teachings of the Buddha are among the more direct, practical meditation techiques that we can cultivate. My focus is on sharing these practices in an accessable, down-to-earth way. How can we disengage from our habits of responding to the world through veils of confusion, greed, and hatred?
Mindfulness practice helps us recognize when we are responding to the world from the mental and emotional habits that obscure our true home, our radiant nature, which manifests as compassion and love. The Buddha's teachings show us that we are not isolated individuals who need to live defensive lives. Rather, we can learn to trust and live from our full potential as compassionate members of a connected planet.
Caroline Jones, a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council, has been practicing meditation for 25 years and teaching since 2009. In teaching, she encourages students to discover and deepen ways of engaging with the Dharma to bring healing and liberation.