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Dharma Teachers

Meditation retreats and classes are led by a wide variety of visiting and local teachers.  Here are bios for the meditation teachers in the Westcoast

Dharma schedule from 2016 to 2018.



Steve Armstrong has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1975, leading retreats since 1990, and is currently one of the guiding senior Dharma teachers at the IMS three-month retreat. As a layperson he was active for many years at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts as a retreat manager and Board member.

As a monk for 5 years in Burma under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pandita Steve undertook intensive, silent practice of insight and lovingkindness meditations. He has also intensively studied Buddhist psychology (Abhidhamma) with Sayadaw U Zagara, and presents the Abhidhamma in practical and easily understood terms. He makes his home on Maui and is co-founder and guiding teacher of Vipassana Metta on Maui.



Pascal Auclair has been immersed in the Dharma since 1997, studying with revered Asian monastic and lay Western teachers.

A co-founder of True North Insight Meditation Centre in Canada, he enjoys teaching in Canada and in the US. His depth of insight, classical training, and creative expression all combine in a wise and compassionate presence. His warmth and humour also make him a much appreciated teacher.




Howard Cohn has practiced meditation since 1972 and has taught Vipassana meditation since 1985. He is a senior Dharma teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California and leads ongoing classes in San Francisco and Marin.

Howard has studied with many Asian and Western teachers of several traditions including Theravada, Zen, Tibetan and Advaita Vedanta and incorporates a non-dual perspective in his teaching. He also works as a psychotherapist with a private practice in counselling.



Rick Hanson, PhD, is a psychologist, a Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, a New York best-selling author, and an invited speaker at leading universities. He is also a meditator. He is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and he teaches meditation around the world.

His books include: Mother Nurture: A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships; Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom; Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time; and Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence.



Loch Kelly is the best-selling author of Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness (2015). He is a meditation teacher, psychotherapist, educator, and consultant, as well as the founder of the Open Hearted Awareness Institute, whose goal is to make compassionate awakening more available to everyone.

Loch has extensively studied and practiced Theravada, Mahamudra and Dzogchen meditation for 30 years.  He has been a member of the New York Insight Meditation Teacher's Counsel and is affiliated with Adyashanti.  He has worked in community health, collaborated with neuroscientists studying meditation, and been active with social justice issues in NYC.  As a teacher he is known for his humour, direct pointers, and contemporary style of supporting awakening in students.



Linda McDonald began Vipassana and Metta meditation in 1987. Prior to formal meditation practice, her spiritual journey included a foundation of Christian mysticism, Native American spirituality, and contemplative self-inquiry practices. Since 1987, Linda has led sitting groups, managed retreats, and served as a Board member in the Vancouver meditation community. She has also worked as a psychotherapist for thirty-five years and continues to work as the Executive Director of the Westcoast Dharma Society.

Linda is a graduate of the Insight Meditation Society teacher training program and has been teaching meditation since 2001.  Her teaching emphasizes lovingkindness, the awakening heart of bodhicitta, and unshakeable trust in the unfolding of our experiencing.



Michele McDonald has practiced Vipassana meditation since 1975 and has been teaching worldwide since 1982. She is a senior Dharma teacher at IMS, a founder of Vipassana Hawaii and the Metta Dana Project in Burma, and a current developer of a regional international retreat center in Hawaii.

Michele is deeply interested in exploring the relationship between intensive practice, daily life practice, and psychotherapy, in preserving the ancient teachings, and in finding ways of expression that make them more accessible and authentic for us in this time. She is particularly drawn to the teachings on liberation - the very real possibility of freedom from greed, hatred and delusion in this life.



Kamala Masters is one of the founders and teachers of the Vipassana Metta Foundation on Maui. She teaches retreats in the Theravada tradition at venues worldwide, including being a Guiding Teacher and member of the Board of Directors at the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts.

Practicing since 1975, her teachers have been the late Anagarika Munindra of India and Sayadaw U Pandita of Burma and Sayadaw U Tejaniya of Burma with whom she continues to practice. Kamala has a commitment to carrying and offering the purity of the teachings of the Buddha in a way that touches our common sense and compassion as human beings, and allows the natural inner growth of wisdom.



Susan Mickel, MD, PhD, has been meditating for over twenty-five years and teaching meditation for fifteen years. Authorized to teach Vipassana meditation by Mary Jo Meadow, PhD, Susan first taught Theravada Vipassana with Resources for Ecumenical Spirituality, which offers Christian-Buddhist retreats. Then she was authorized by Daniel Brown, PhD, to teach Indo-Tibetan meditation. She taught Indo-Tibetan Mahamudra meditation retreats with Pointing Out the Great Way for ten years. Currently she teaches POGW-style Mahamudra and Dzogchen meditation retreats as well as Theravada weekend retreats.

Professionally, Susan works part-time as a behavioral neurologist (MD) and as a licensed clinical psychologist (PhD). The majority of her time now, however, is in meditation. She has completed in her home two years of a three-year intensive Dzogchen retreat in the Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Currently Susan's teachers are: Rahob Rinpoche Thubten Kalsang, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, Tulku Dawa Gyalpo, and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.



Steven Smith teaches Metta (lovingkindness) and Vipassana retreats worldwide.  Anchored in the Theravadan tradition of Southeast Asia since1974, he has trained both as a monk and a layperson with the Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita.

Steven is a co-founder of Vipassana Hawaii and the Metta Dana Project in Burma. He divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai'i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai'i's remote North Kohala coast.



Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey is a teacher of Vipassana (insight) meditation within the broader context of the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. His teaching aims to inspire the skills, determination, and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom.

Jesse is a student of Michele McDonald and is trained in the lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. He is the resident teacher for Vipassana Hawai’i and teaches around the world.