Santikaro went to Thailand with the Peace Corps in 1980, was ordained as a Theravada monk in 1985, and subsequently trained at Suan Mokkh with Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a leading Thai teacher, scholar, and reformer of Theravada Buddhism. He became Ajahn Buddhadasa’s primary English translator and was abbot of nearby Suan Atammayatarama. He is a founding member of Think Sangha, a community of socially engaged Buddhist thinker-activists that has given special attention to the ethical and spiritual impact of consumerism and militarism. He led meditation retreats at Suan Mokkh for many years before returning to the USA’s Midwest in 2001. In 2004 he retired from formal monastic life. He continues to teach in the Buddhist tradition with an emphasis on the early Pali sources. He is the founder of Liberation Park, a modern American expression of Buddhist practice, study, and social responsibility. There he continues to teach, study, practice, translate the work of his teacher, engage in social activism, and imagine the future of Buddha-Dhamma in the West.
In Sam’s own words:
I have been a Methodist minister, college professor and administrator, poet, signal gandy, and childcare worker. Currently retired and Northfield resident for 3 years.
I first took refuge vows in the Tibetan tradition with Tana Tulku Rinpoche in the early 1990’s and was given the name Karma Tsering. Currently I am trying to find the balance between my Buddhist and Quaker practices.
Over the past 25+years Terri Karis has been studying Buddhism, racial identities and whiteness. She is a white mother of black sons, and a professor of couple and family therapy.
Ken found his way into Zen practice slowly, beginning with “academic” exploration in his college years, then his first contacts with Dainin Katagiri roshi in Minneapolis in 1976. He studied at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and Hokyoji with Katagiri roshi and, later, Shohaku Okumura. He has studied at Tassajara monastery and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California, and at Clouds in Water where he has been an active member since 1999. Retired from a career as a city planner, Ken is a lay teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center. He does volunteer work for Nonviolent Peaceforce and participates in interfaith dialogue in the local community.
SHODO SPRING is the founder of Mountains and Waters Alliance, dedicated to working together with all beings to protect and restore the earth. She is also a Zen priest, Dharma heir of Shohaku Okumura Roshi, mother and grandmother, leader of the 2013 Compassionate Earth Walk, and author of Take Up Your Life: Making Spirituality Work in the Real World (Tuttle 1996).
JUSTIN MERRITT is a Theravadan Buddhist and student of Bhante Sathi. The focus of his practice and study is early Buddhism and the earliest suttas. Visit his Buddhism blog here. Listen to the Simple|Suttas podcast here.
He is a board member and teach at the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center in Northfield, MN. As a composer he was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation/Rudolph Nissim Award. He is also the winner of a host of other awards including the 2011-12 McKnight Fellowship, the Copland Award, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Prize, and the Polyphonos Prize.Hear his music here.
He resides in Northfield, Minnesota with his wife Faye, their children Cullen Fang Ouxiang and Molly Fang Qinghe, and their dog Zoltán.
MARK NUNBERG began his meditation practice in 1982 and has been teaching meditation since 1990. He co-founded Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis in 1993 with his wife Wynn Fricke and continues to serve as the center’s Guiding Teacher. Mark has studied with both Asian and Western teachers and finds deep inspiration in the teachings of the Buddha. Mark and other leaders at Common Ground Meditation Center have begun the development of a new Retreat Property on 46 acres of rolling fields and woods in Western Wisconsin. Mark has been leading residential Vipassana retreats in Minnesota and more recently at Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts for over ten years. Mark continues to be a grateful student of Buddhist practice.
DOUG MCGILL is a journalist and author, founded the Rochester Meditation Center in 2004 and is its primary meditation and dharma teacher.
FRED HOWE has studied philosophy and religion at the U of Calgary and McMaster U in Canada, and is a long time member of NBMC. For the past 5 years, he has been a volunteer for meditation groups that meet at correctional facilities in Faribault and Moose Lake.
Originally from Minneapolis, AJAHN CHANDAKO was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1990 in the Thai Forest Tradition in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. After practicing intensive meditation in various monasteries in Thailand and traveling extensively in Tibet, Nepal, and India, he settled at Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand, the monastery established by Ajahn Chah for his English-speaking disciples. He translated many of the teachings into English and is also the author of ‘A Honed and Heavy Ax: Samatha and Vipassana in Harmony.’ In recent years, he has taught internationally, and is now the abbot of Vimutti Forest Monastery, near Auckland, New Zealand.
AJAHN PUNNADHAMMO has been studying and practicing Buddhism since 1979 and was ordained in Thailand in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah (novice ordination Feb. 1991, higher ordination Feb. 1992). Between 1990 and 1995 he was based at Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand. Punnadhammo is a Canadian, born Michael Dominskyj in Toronto in 1955. He began studying the Dhamma under Kema Ananda, the founder and first teacher at the Arrow River Center.
PATRICE KOELSCH is a frequent teacher at NBMC. Formally trained with a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Patrice Koelsch is a writer and educator who began sitting at Common Ground in 1995. She has been facilitating meditation groups in correctional facilities since 1999. Patrice has also practiced meditation at monasteries in Burma and Thailand. In 2006 she completed a year-long Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. Patrice has been certified to teach through Spirit Rock\’s Community Dharma Leaders Program. You may contact Patrice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROGER R. JACKSON is a frequent teacher at NBMC. Roger R. Jackson teaches the religions of South Asia and Tibet at Carleton College. He has a B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin. His special interests include Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and ritual; Buddhist religious poetry; religion and society in Sri Lanka; and contemporary Buddhist thought. He is co-author of The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra in Context (1985), author of Is Enlightenment Possible? (1993) and Tantric Treasures (2004), co-editor of Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre (1996) and Buddhist Theology (1999), editor and co-translator of The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems: A Tibetan Study of Asian Religious Thought (2009), and author of many articles and reviews. He has been a practitioner of Buddhism since 1974, studying primarily with masters from the Geluk tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, but also with teachers of the other major Tibetan lineages, and of Theravada and Zen Buddhism, as well.