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Acharya Christie Bates

Christie Bates (Passatininna) is a Dharma teacher, contemplative therapist and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Tennessee. She has extensive background working with individuals and families in recovery from addictions, mental health disorders, chronic developmental stress and acute trauma, both in and out of 12-step culture and Buddhist recovery circles. Her training has included 11th Step practice, Buddhist meditation and contemplative Christian practice. She has sat retreat with Phillip Moffitt and Gordon Peerman, Lisa Ernst, Noah Levine, Matthew Brensilver, Ajahn Sucitto and Heartwood Refuge’s Co-Abbotts, Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa. Continuing her education in the Dharmacharya path with Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa, she…

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Acharya Dr. Maureen Hall

Acharya Dr. Maureen Hall is a Chiropractic Physician, Acupuncturist and Energy Healer specializing in mindfulness-based interventions for stress, and workplace wellness. She has been teaching the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course at Missouri University of Science and Technology, each semester, since 2010-2017, and St. John’s Integrative Medicine in Springfield, MO 2006 and 2008.   Acharya Dr. Maureen has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 15 years and has completed extensive trainings including: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine Professional Training with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, the 2 Year Spirit Rock/IMS Community Dharma Leader Program and the 2 year Dharmacharya…

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Amy Goldweber RDN,

Registered Dietitian bio Amy is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and is currently licensed in the states of Florida and North Carolina.  She is also a Certified Health Coach and RYT-200.   Amy received her nutrition education at Simmons College in Boston, MA and completed the dietetic internship program at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, FL Amy has held the role as the nutrition expert in both clinical and community settings.  She was the opening dietitian in a mental health and wellness center in St. Petersburg FL and the very first store nutritionist in a 30-year old natural food…

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Aoife Clancy

Aoife Clancy grew up in Tipperary Ireland and has been a musician all her adult life.  She moved to the States in 1992 and toured over 200  dates with the band Cherish the Ladies from NY City.  She has performed with Orchestras including the Grammy nominated Celtic Album with the Boston Pops as well as a solo appearance with the Boston Pops for their Celtic night.  Aoifenow resides in Etowah  and runs her own Yoga practice where she incorporates traditional Gaelic vibrations through song, Guitar Bodhran (Irish Drum) and a Tibetan Singling Bowl.

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Bhante Sudhasso

Bhante Suddhāso is a Buddhist monk of generation X making ancient wisdom relevant to contemporary times. He is the co-founder of Buddhist Insights, a new platform using technology to build community and facilitate access to reliable monastic teachings, his work aims to convey Buddhist concepts and their practical applicability to everyday life. Bhante Suddhāso practices meditation according to the original instructions given by the Buddha in the Pāli Canon – the oldest collection of Buddhist scriptures, which contains an enormous amount of very detailed and precise guidelines on how we can live our lives in a way that reduces our…

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Bhikkhu Samāhita

Ven. Samāhita Thero has lived alone for the last 16 years remotely on Knuckles Mountain in a Bhāvanā-Kuti: The Cypress Hermitage 56 km from Kandy from where he runs the website: http://What-Buddha-Said.net and numerous Buddhist internet, YouTube, and Facebook groups w. >100.000 international members. His email is: bhante.samahita@gmail.com Ven. Samāhita Thero (born 1960) was educated as a Medical Doctor at the Copenhagen University in Denmark, and became Associate Professor in Bioinformatics at the Technical University in Denmark, working with theoretical biology, and artificial intelligence. Cooperating with grandchildren of Danish Physicist Niels Bohr (Noble Prize 1922) stimulated a long cherished interest in Quantum Physics, and Einsteinian Relativity. He arrived in Sri Lanka 2001, was ordained as novice at…

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Bhikkhu Sukhacitto

Bhikkhu Sukhacitto is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. He was born in Germany in 1963 and first came into contact with Buddhism in 1986 in Thailand by attending a meditation retreat, offered through Wat Suan Mokkh. He ordained there as a novice in 1989 and as a monk in 1990. He returned to the West in 1993. Since then he has lived at various monasteries, including Dhammapala Monastery in Switzerland for six years and Amaravati Monastery in the UK for 4 years. On his first Insight Dialogue retreat in 2005, he was amazed by the powerful experience of meditating together with other…

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Bliss Hippy

Bliss Hippy is Richard and Maureen Hall. Bliss Hippy is a nationally touring act who calls Rolla, MO their home and Heartwood Refuge their home away from home. Their Americana/Folk style has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years. “We love supporting Heartwood with our music because it is truly a place of peace and a refuge. Although Heartwood Refuge has a Buddhist taproot it is open to people of all faiths. So many activities happen here that serve to ease the suffering of living beings, including the weekly Dharma on Sundays and Tuesdays, taught by the Venerables Pannavati…

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Bliss Hippy

Bliss Hippy is Richard and Maureen Hall. Bliss Hippy is a nationally touring act who calls Rolla, Missouri their home and Heartwood Refuge their home away from home. Their Americana/Folk style has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years. “We love supporting Heartwood with our music because it is truly a place of peace and a refuge. Although Heartwood Refuge has a Buddhist taproot it is open to people of all faiths. So many activities happen there that serve to ease the suffering of living beings, including weekly Dharma every Sunday and Tuesday, taught by the Venerables Pannavati and…

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Bob & Fran German

Bob and Fran German are an inspirational couple who are healthy-lifestyle proponents, mentors, and authors of the popular book “101 Ways To Be Young At Any Age!” They believe that getting older does not have to mean getting sicker! They both overcame life-threatening illness by changing how they eat. Contact Bob & Fran at bobnfran@gmail.com Visit their website at www.bobnfran.com

Bob Sima with Shannon Plummer

Bob Sima is a dynamic singer-songwriter, performer, storyteller. Sima (pronounced sEYE-ma) is said to be to music what Wayne Dyer, Don Miguel Ruiz, and Eckhart Tolle are to books and Rumi, Hafiz, and David Whyte are to poetry. He is an award-winning singer-songwriter, spiritual teacher, and musical mystic who has been called “Eckhart Tolle with a guitar”. With no musical training, he has creatively produced 8 award winning albums and built a national following. His music bridges daily life and consciousness, the eternal with the now through instantly accessible songs that take up residence and resonate in your essence. But he’s not just…

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David Loy

David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is a prolific author, whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. His articles appear regularly in the pages of major journals such as Tikkun and Buddhist magazines including Tricycle, Lion’s Roar, and Buddhadharma, as well as in a variety of scholarly journals. Many of his writings, as well as audio and video talks and interviews, are available on the web. He is on the advisory boards of Buddhist Global Relief, the Clear View Project, Zen Peacemakers, and the Ernest Becker Foundation. David lectures nationally and internationally on various…

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Deborah Eden Tull

DEBORAH EDEN TULL, founder of Mindful Living Revolution, teaches the integration of compassionate awareness into every aspect of our lives. She is a Zen meditation and mindfulness teacher, public speaker, author, activist, and sustainability educator. She trained for seven years as a Buddhist monk at a silent Zen monastery in Northern California, and she has been traveling to, living in, or teaching about conscious, sustainable communities internationally for the last 25 years. She currently resides in the mountains western North Carolina and offers retreats, workshops, and consultations nationally. Eden’s first book, The Natural Kitchen: Your Guide for the Sustainable Food Revolution (Process Media), was published in September 2010…

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Dorjé Lopön Dr. Hun Lye

Dr. Hun Lye (Könchok Yedor) was born and raised in a Buddhist family with a very devout paternal grandmother in Penang, Malaysia. From a very young age, all matters related to religion, ritual and mythology were of special interest to him. While learning about all the major world religions and spiritualities with keen interest, Dr. Lye felt a particular natural affinity to Buddhism. As a child, he often accompanied his grandmother to a local nunnery and spent much time there. Like many Buddhists in Malaysia, Dr. Lye considered the differences between Theravada, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna forms of Buddhism to be ultimately inconsequential and all of…

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Dr. Maureen Hall

Dr. Maureen Hall is a Chiropractic Physician, Acupuncturist and Energy Healer specializing in mindfulness-based interventions for stress, and workplace wellness. She has been teaching the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course at Missouri University of Science and Technology, each semester, since 2010-2017, and St. John’s Integrative Medicine in Springfield, MO 2006 and 2008.  She teaches stress reduction and mindful parenting workshops nationally and offers private counseling.

Emily Horn

Emily Horn is a mindfulness teacher trainer and dharma teacher who develops programs and support structures for people dedicated to living a wholehearted life in the modern world. She’s authorized to teach meditation retreats by Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, and InsightLA. Emily was personally mentored by Jack Kornfield, P.h.D and Trudy Goodman, P.h.D. She’s worked in various contemplative education environments including Buddhist Geeks and is now a co-founder of the Heart of Insight Community and Meditate.io. Emily has been called a “power player of the mindfulness movement” by Wired Magazine. For her, the spiritual journey is simply…

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Erin Rae

“Gifted with the unique ability to fuse musical genres and influences to craft songs that feels fresh and wholly her own…(Erin) has thrown down a direct challenge to the stereotype of what a Southern singer should be. Both musically and lyrically, she strikes a fiercely independent chord, proudly releasing a deeply personal record that reflects her own experience and upbringing in Tennessee, including the prejudices and injustices that she witnessed as a child that continue to impact her life to this day…” (erinraemusic.com) Erin’s second full-length album “Puttin’ On Airs” was released by Single Lock Records on June 9th of…

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Frank Trombetta

Frank first became aware of a connection with reality beyond the physical aspects of the world as a child walking through the woods alone around the age of 5. He became suddenly aware that he had shifted out of a state of “being” part of everything around him, to becoming an observer, or separate from his surroundings. This shift was so profound and startling that he made a vow to himself to find his natural state again, a state that he had resided in all of his life previously. Later, as a teen, while under duress, he heard a silent…

Gisela Konrad

Gisela Konrad has also been leading silent retreats for twenty years. She has been a certified yoga teacher for 30 years, studying under Gary Kraftzow, Richard Miller, and the late Joan Ruvinsky. She has completed two of the three-month retreats at IMS and has been engaged in Diamond Heart work for three years.

Heartwood Health Team

The Heartwood Health Team currently consists of : Venerable Pannavati, Spiritual Director and Bach Flower Remedy expert. Dr. Maureen Hall, DC FIAMA,  Healing Continuum Director Amy Goldweber RDN, Nutrition expert, Life Coach We are in the process of adding to our Team with more of our Heartwood residents and local  healers who are trained in some aspect of the healing industry, and interested in being of service in this capacity at Heartwood.  Check back to see our new additions.



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Jeff Collins

Jeff Collins is a retired hospice social worker in Ithaca NY and has been leading silent retreats for 25 years, including at Southern Dharma in North Carolina and at Light on the Hill, near Ithaca. He has been practicing meditation in the Zen and Theravadin traditions for over 30 years and has done 3 three-month silent retreats at IMS. Jeff has also been engaged in Diamond Heart work for over 20 years.

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Jenn Biehn and Joan Lohman

Achariyas Jenn Biehn and Joan Lohman, engaged members of East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland CA, (arguably the most diverse western Buddhist meditation center in the US) and lay ministers of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage Contemplative Order, founded by Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa. Jenn and Joan have each been BuddhaDharmaSangha practitioners for over 30 years weaving together the Vajrayana, Zen and Theravada lineages. They have been active at EBMC for the last 10 years including their practice/work with the Midday Sangha – a peer-led weekly practice group and the Restorative Practices for Dharma Practitioners Sangha. Jenn helps to steward EBMC as a…

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John Cunningham

John has been teaching meditation for 17 years.  His practice and teaching combines Vipassana, loving-kindness and non-dual teachings from various spiritual traditions. John has studied with several teachers, but his primary teacher is Matthew Flickstein.  Work with Matthew includes numerous retreats and several extended study programs, including teacher training programs, a one-year study of the Satipatthana Sutta, and a two-year program on non-duality.  John’s personal retreat experience in recent years has focused primarily on self-retreats and on retreats associated with the training programs with Matthew. John recently completed a two-year non-dual teacher training program. John is the primary teacher for…

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John Orr

John Orr received Theravada Buddhist ordination while living in Thailand and India as a monk for eight years in the 1970’s. He has been teaching meditation and leading retreats internationally since 1980 and has also practiced in the Taoist, Dzogbchen and Hindu Yoga traditions. John has been deeply affected by his contact with the healer John of God and leads groups to his center, the Casa de Dom Inacio, in Brazil. He teaches through the New Hope Sangha in Durham, North Carolina and Deep Spring Center Ann Arbor, Michigan. He recently retired from teaching for three decades at Duke University.

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Kaira Jewel Lingo

Kaira Jewel Lingo teaches meditation and mindfulness internationally, with a focus on activists, people of color, artists, educators, families, and youth. She began practicing mindfulness in 1997. An ordained nun of 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, she is now based in Washington, D.C., leading retreats in the U.S. and internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators and youth in schools, as well as individual spiritual mentoring. She teaches mindfulness in schools with Minds, Inc, and edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children. She has articles and chapters published in numerous magazines and books, including Real World Mindfulness for Beginners; Together we…

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Kittisaro graduated from Princeton as a Rhodes Scholar and went on to Oxford before going to Thailand to ordain with Ajahn Chah in 1976. He was a monk for 15 years, during that time helped found Chithurst Monastery and Devon Vihara in the UK, trained monks, was a prison Chaplain, and taught extensively. He disrobed in 1991 and since then has taught internationally. He co-founded Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in 2000 and helped initiate and support a number of HIV/Aids response projects in South Africa. He has studied and practiced Chan and Pure Land for 35 years, informed by the Chinese school of Master Hua, and has…

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Lama Surya Das

Lama Surya Das  is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him “The Western Lama.”  Surya has spent over forty five years studying Zen, vipassana, yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism with the great masters of Asia, including the Dalai Lama’s own teachers, and has twice completed the traditional three year meditation cloistered retreat at his teacher’s Tibetan monastery. He is an authorized lama and lineage holder in the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism, and a…

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Lisa Ernst

Lisa Ernst is a meditation teacher, artist and founder of One Dharma Nashville. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. She offers private meditation training, classes and workshops and she teaches retreats nationally. She is a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre California. Lisa writes essays on dharma practice and awakening in everyday life, which she regularly posts to this blog. Lisa has been meditating for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana traditions. She received teaching authorization in the Thai Forest…

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Manuel Vasquez

Manuel Vasquez, MSW, retired psychiatric social worker with 20 years experience as clinician and director of outpatient mental health treatment, specialized in services for Latino populations who suffer from mild to chronic stress. He has 5 children and 5 grandchildren.

Metta Programs




Rebel Saints Meditation Society


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Ronya Banks

Founder and lead teacher of the Asheville Insight Meditation center, in Asheville, North Carolina, Ronya Banks originally began her meditation practice in 1985, and she has personally spent over a year on silent residential Insight Meditation retreats with over 30 different teachers.   In addition to experience as a Theravada Buddhist nun, Ronya is also a graduate of the Spirit Rock & Insight Meditation Society’s joint Community Dharma Leader program.  She has been teaching for over a decade to people from all over the world.  Ms. Banks earlier life also included being a business entrepreneur, consultant, and single mother of…

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Santikaro and his partner Jo Marie are caretakers at Liberation Park in southwest Wisconsin, where he is also the guiding teacher. There, he guides students of Buddha-Dhamma and meditators in their cultivation of the noble eightfold path. He teaches actively around the Midwest and further a field, leads retreats, and encourages study groups. His Dhamma roots are at Suan Mokkh, the Southern Thai monastery of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, where he lived for 14 years, and his Dhamma understanding is grounded in the teachings of Early Buddhism. When he has the time and energy, he also contributes to work for social justice…

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Satima earned her Yoga Nidra certification in 2012 at the Sivananda ashram in Grass Valley CA and her RYT 200 certification in 2013 in Rishikesh, India. A Buddhist practitioner since 1999, she spent the past 6+ years on a spiritual journey which led her to serve, practice and study in a wide variety of yoga ashrams, Buddhist Monasteries and retreat centers in the U.S., Thailand, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  She has recently settled in Hendersonville, NC as the Executive Director of Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center.

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Shaila Catherine

Shaila Catherine is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation group in Silicon Valley, and also Bodhi Courses, an online Buddhist classroom. She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than nine years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has taught since 1996 in the USA, and internationally. Shaila studied with several Asian masters in India, Thailand, and Nepal, including H. W. L. Poonja, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, and Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, in addition to the founders of several western meditation centers including Christopher Titmuss and Joseph Goldstein. She completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration…

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Susmita Barua

Susmita Barua (Dharmacharya Navasajiva) MS, MA, CPC is a Certified Professional Coach, Mindfulness Educator and Contemporary Dharma Teacher from Lexington, KY. She served as the former President of the Alliance for Bhikkhunis and founding member of Sakyadhita USA, Heartwood Refuge, NC and KY Peace Meditation Center. She taught recently at Mindful Nashville, Louisville and Lexington events and will present workshops at Sakyadhita International Buddhist Women’s Conference 2019 in Australia. She developed the Linkedin Buddhist Women’s Network and Facebook Mindful Buddhist Economics Group. Contact her at susmitabarua.com

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Suzanne Tindol

Suzanne Tindol has practiced yoga since 1998.  In 1998, after retiring, she and her husband moved to Hendersonville.  Suzanne has 500 + hours of Advanced studies in Yoga with Therapeutic Influences.  Studies include working with those with limitations and welcome others that may want a gentle class. Her business is called, ‘A Gentle Stretch’ and she teaches several different programs at the Hendersonville County Parks & Recreation, all with a Therapeutic benefit.

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Terri Edwards

Terri Edwards is a licensed Food For Life Instructor with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. She says, “Plant-based nutrition healed my body and gave me my life back. My personal mission now is to promote this way of health and see some lives changed.” Terri has an upbeat friendly teaching style and will show how easy it is to cook simple, nutritious, and delicious meals for greater health. Contact her at terri@eatplant-based.com. Visit her website at www.eatplant-based.com

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Thanissara started Buddhist practice in the Burmese school in 1975. She was inspired to ordain after meeting Ajahn Chah and spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun, where she was a founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in the UK. She has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 30 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University & the Karuna Institute in the UK. With Kittisaro, she co-founded Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat and helped initiate and support a number of HIV/Aids response projects in South Africa. She has written several books, including two poetry books. Her latest book is Time…

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Therese Fitzgerald

Therese Fitzgerald trained for eight years at the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Mountain Monastery and then with Thich Nhat Hanh for fifteen years. She was ordained as a Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1994. She has been teaching in North Carolina for more than twenty years. Originally from Charlotte, Therese now lives on the island of Maui, where she works as a Dharma teacher and as a hospice Chaplain.

Tuere Sala

Tuere Sala is a Guiding Teacher at Seattle Meditation Society (SIMS). She is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for nearly 30 years and has been a practicing member of SIMS since 2001.  She is also the founding teacher of the Capitol Hill Meditation Group.  Ms. Sala teaches weekly meditation sits, introduction to meditation classes, intermediate and advance practice courses, and Buddhist study courses. She offers residential retreats, weekend nonresidential and daylong meditation retreats on various Dharma principles, workshops using nonviolent communication (NVC) to support a mindfulness practice and mindfulness-based resilience training. She has completed extensive trainings including: Spirit Rock Community…

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Venerable Pannadipa

Bhikkhu Pannadipa, founding Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana (Chan) traditions. A former Taoist monk and an initiated yogi, he taught Tien Shen Pai Kung Fu, qigong, Tai Chi and Fitness for more than 25 years. As meditation counselor of the Hermitage,  his finely honed skills add unspeakable depth to a practitioner’s experience. Powerfully present with penetrating awareness, he guides meditators towards jhanic attainment, teaching them how to use this empowerment in all circumstances of practical life. In addition, he has extensive experience assisting in the transition from this life to the next for both…

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Venerable Pannavati

Venerable Pannavati, a former Christian pastor, is co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage and meditation center; Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge and President of the Treasure Human Life Foundation. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada, Chan, and Mahayana traditions with Vajrayana empowerments and transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service.  Venerable Pannavati is also a current disciple of Zhaxi Zhouma Rimpoche. An international teacher, she advocates on behalf of dis-empowered women and youth globally, and insists on equality and respect in Buddhist life for both female monastics and lay…

Vincent Horn

Vincent Horn is part of a new generation of teachers translating age-old wisdom into 21st century code. A computer engineering dropout turned modern monk, he spent his 20s co-founding the ground-breaking Buddhist Geeks project while doing a full year of silent retreat practice. Vince began teaching in 2010 and has been authorized in both the pragmatic dharma lineage of Kenneth Folk and by Trudy Goodman, the guiding teacher of InsightLA. Vince teaches meditation virtually through Meditate.io and locally in North Carolina through the Heart of Insight.  He lives in Winston-Salem, NC with his partner Emily and their son Zander.