My Teachers

Shakyamuni Buddha

Shakyamuni Buddha

Siddhartha Shakyamuni, as he was originally known and eventually to be named the Noble One the Buddha, lived over 2500 years ago and continues to live in our own realisation. He taught a direct path to understanding how we create our own suffering and a path of liberation from what is not to what IS. I refer to the Buddha as the original pragmatic psychotherapist bent on unveiling the Truth, the dharma. This truth is not one that was invented or discovered by the Buddha only, it is our original nature, the fully lived NOW in its nakedness. My journey with Buddhism began as a teenager when I read Suzuki Roshi’s book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. This was a pivotal introduction into Buddha Nature- our original state of Being. I then began a 40 year journey into the Buddhadharma soaking my entire being into the teachings and cherishing most deeply what the Buddha attained with his fervent, persistent, unshakeable efforts to look directly into the source of our true nature. In the last few years, I have read several books about the Buddha’s life and especially his life as a meditator and I am left in awe and tears to a man that was relentless in his pursuit of the cessation of suffering. All day, I walk alongside the Buddha in my heart and I am reminded to always stay close to the suchness of life- vivid, expansive, luminous, and loving. I aspire to embody those qualities for the benefit of all beings.

Longchenpa

Longchenpa (Longchen Rabjam Drimé Özer)

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, especially in the Nyingma School, Longchenpa is known as the Great Codifier of the Dzogchen teachings. During his life, in the 1300’s, he wrote one of the most important series of texts, The Seven Treasuries with auto commentaries that reads as the unabated mind stream of one drenched in Buddha Nature. Longchenpa was a prolific writer, teacher, and a most profound living Dzogchen practitioner. I was most fortunate to be given empowerment to practice in the lineage of Longchenpa and have spent several retreats focusing on his Sadhana which is a Maha-Guru practice, meaning it is the essence of all the Dzogchen teachings. Reading and meditating upon Longchenpa’s words is like receiving nectar directly from his unbroken Buddha Mind, delicious precious gems in each word, and to actually embody just one sentence of his teachings would be enough to understand the entire path. I am forever in debt to this direct expression of who we all ARE.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana Master) 

In 1997, after 10 years of studying Vipassana, I “encountered” the sacred path of Vajrayana Buddhism in what seemed a synchronistic series of events. While studying for my Ph.D., I was attending a class on Chan Buddhism and I became friendly with one of my classmates who after hearing about my interests in Buddhism suggested I attend a weekly meditation on Red Tara with the Chagdud Tulu Rinpoche group in San Francisco. Without skipping one heartbeat, I responded with a resounding “yes”. A few days later, while walking through the park in Haight, San Francisco, I came across a flyer on a tree inviting interested students to attend a teaching on Dzogchen. In that moment, time stood still, it was as though I was transported to the most familiar space of my knowing that somehow, I was deeply connected to the Dzogchen Path. I had never heard the word before, and yet I knew its meaning. I rushed home and began looking into the entire path of Vajrayana and specifically Dzogchen and this is when I came across a picture that would change my life. It was the picture of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche looking straight at me offering a beautiful flower; sobbing uncontrollably, filled with devotion, awe, and yearning, I remained in an open state for hours. It felt as though I met my mother that I had known in previous incarnations. I devoured anything related to Dilgo Khyentse and it was at this point that I met my first Dzogchen teacher Lama Drimed Norbu. His teacher, Chagdud Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse were very dear friends and I knew I was entering the sublime field of Vajrayana. Even though I have never ‘met’ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, I knew I knew him. His images, books, and his visits in my dreams confirmed a deep connection with him which has continued to this day. He is the epitome of what it means to be a Dharma practitioner: embodied loving wisdom, unshakeable union with Buddha nature. I remain in tears of love and gratitude.

Lopon Barbara DuBois

Lopon Barbara DuBois

In the beginning of 2022, a most auspicious and delicious re-connection occurred during a seemingly random event. I was invited to attend an online teaching by Lopon Barbara DuBois for which at first I hesitated and then was mesmerised by an amazingly Dharma bright and exceedingly humorous Buddhist teacher. Up until that point, I had not heard of Lopon Barbara DuBois, but upon meeting I did not want to part from her luminous presence. For the two hours of the dharma event, I simply laughed and smiled the entire time like a child keeping a secret that only I knew, which was I knew her all this time, as though we were never actually apart. After the retreat, we have maintained a very close student-teacher relationship based on the ultimate vow of a Bodhisattva- bodhichitta. I affectionately call her Haha Lama because she is witty, sharp, and fiercely loving. You get what you see- no masks, games, or dramas, a direct pointing to our true nature- clear awareness through the doorway of Bodhicitta. She has written a most precious book called, Brave, Generous & Undefended: Heart Teachings on the 37 Bodhisattva Practices which her teacher Garchen Rinpoche has fully endorsed. In the introduction, Garchen Rinpoche states that his mind and her mind are inseparable. To my beloved teacher, I am forever grateful for your infinite and unbound love. I feel at ease and in good hands. At the end of a recent visit with Lopon Barbara, as I was saying goodbye, she ever so sweetly looked at me, and said, “We have never met or parted; we have always been together”. At that moment, all veils of time and space collapsed into the ever present Now. That gift of remembrance, without wavering, is what I carry daily in my heart. Haha Lama… I can never repay your kindness.

Alejandro-Chaoul

Alejandro Chaoul 

After receiving Ati Yoga teachings from Lama Drimed Norbu, I was interested in Anu Yoga practices to support my meditation practice and deepen awakening in the body. In 2010, Alejandro Chaoul of Ligmincha International offered a training program in Tsa Lung and Tril Khor which was completed in 2015. Over five years, I attended yearly retreats with Alejandro and studied under his guidance in deepening my practice, which has been deeply transformational and liberating on the most subtle levels. After completing my own training, Alejandro invited me to the teachers training program which is coming to completion in the near future and will give permission for students to teach Tsa Lung and Trul Khor to others. Alejandro is the embodiment of a devoted practitioner which is evident in his loving demeanour and relentless support of his students. He lives his practice and I have been honoured to be one of his students, and I hope to continue the tradition by offering what he has imparted upon me- love. Alejandro is a senior student in the Bon Tradition of Buddhism under the guidance of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche who has made the Buddhadharma available for everyone. In spending time with Alejandro, I have felt his radiant kindness and attentiveness to the path from a direct practice standpoint. He guides from his practice and I hope to offer in the same manner.

Lama Drimed Norbu

Lama Drimed Norbu

In 1998 my life forever changed upon meeting Lama Drimed of Chagdud Gompa. Lama Drimed was officially recognized in 1995 and given the permission to be head Lama of Rigdzin Ling in California which is the seat of Chagdud Rinpoche’s legacy. In his ordination, he was also recognized as an emanation of one of the 25 students of Padmasambhava. After meeting Lama Drimed, he gave me permission to attend the annual Ngondro retreat in 1999 which he conducted and imparted the Dzogchen view into the teachings. After a few years of Ngondro practice, I was invited to attend one of several six week Dzogchen retreats as well as several retreats focusing on the practices related to Longchenpa. Lama Drimed lives the Dharma in every fibre of his being. Currently in 2022, he is in his second three year retreat deepening what he has been teaching his students, how to abide in the natural state of Buddha nature. From Lama Drimed, I received the entire cycle of Dzogchen teaching which I cherish daily and remember the blessings of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas for their persistence in maintaining the unbroken lineage of the Buddhadharma. Lama Drimed without words expressed the inexpressible and in his presence all of us experienced our true nature. He bestowed upon us a jewel most precious as it can never be stained- our own true face.

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