Tergar instructors facilitate Joy of Living programs, including residential retreats, and assist with Path of Liberation courses taught by Mingyur Rinpoche and other Tergar lamas. They also teach Exploring Buddhism courses, provide meditation interviews, and mentor Tergar staff and communities.
Cortland is a scientist, translator, and meditation teacher who offers workshops and leads retreats around the world. He has practiced meditation for nearly three decades and has spent time on retreat in monasteries and retreat centers throughout Japan, Burma, and India, including eight years spent living in Tibetan refugee settlements in Kathmandu, Nepal.
He has a Ph.D. in Mind, Brain and Contemplative Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was mentored by renowned neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson. He also holds a master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University. In addition to his work as an Instructor for the Tergar community and Executive Director of Tergar International, Cortland serves as Research Scientist and Chief Contemplative Officer at UW-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds and the center’s affiliated non-profit, Healthy Minds Innovations.
Cortland is actively involved in scientific research and has published articles on the impact of meditation practices on the body, mind, and brain. He has also published twelve books of translations of classical texts on Buddhist philosophy and meditation.
He currently lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin.
Edwin Kelley first became interested in Buddhism in 1975 when he attended a meditation retreat near Perth, Australia. He later pursued a career as a public accountant and in 1992 went to Burma to undertake a six-month period of intensive retreat with the renowned meditation master Chanmyay Sayadaw. While practicing in Burma he ordained temporarily as a Theravada Buddhist monk.
In 1994 he was hired as Director of Operations by one of America’s best known meditation retreat centers, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS), in Barre, MA. Eighteen months later he was appointed Executive Director of IMS and served in that capacity until 2003 when he resigned to pursue further long-term intensive meditation practice.
Edwin first encountered Vajrayana Buddhism in Dharamsala, India in 1993 and became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 1998. He has a post graduate diploma in Buddhist Studies from the University of Sunderland in the UK. He moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Myoshin in 2009 to help establish the global Tergar Meditation Community. In addition to his work as an instructor, he currently serves as chief financial officer for Tergar International.
Myoshin Kelley attended her first meditation retreat in 1975 at the age of 20. Through the ensuing years she has received dharma instructions from several renowned Buddhist meditation masters in the Theravada, Zen, and Vajrayana traditions. She has practiced extensively with the Burmese meditation masters Chanmyay Sayadaw, Sayadaw U Pandita, and Sayadaw U Tejaniya. In the early 1990s Myoshin received meditation instruction from the Soto Zen master Hogen Yamahata. Her desire for long-term meditation practice has taken her to Burma on several occasions.
In 1994 she accompanied her husband, Edwin, to the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA, where she was trained as a meditation instructor by Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg. Since then she has been teaching meditation in a number of places throughout North America. In 2003, she was appointed the teacher in residence at the Forest Refuge, the long-term practice center at IMS.
Myoshin was introduced to Vajrayana teachings in 1993 and met Mingyur Rinpoche in 1998 when he first visited the US with his brother, Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Since then she has practiced with Mingyur Rinpoche in North America and Asia benefiting from his skillful, lucid instructions on the profound teachings of Mahamudra. She moved to Minneapolis in 2010 to help support Mingyur Rinpoche in his worldwide vision and leads programs internationally and locally.
Tim began his Buddhist studies in 1977 under the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. In 1981, Trungpa Rinpoche invited Mingyur Rinpoche’s father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, to teach in Boulder. Profoundly moved by him, Tim and his family moved just a few months later to Kathmandu to study with Tulku Urgyen and his sons. During the twelve years that he lived in Nepal, Tim studied with many of the older teachers living there and worked as a psychotherapist serving the international community. In 2000, Tim moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where he served for three years as the director of Gampo Abbey, the largest residential Buddhist monastery in North America. He is presently the president of the Pema Chödrön Foundation, which supports Gampo Abbey.
In 2003, after a visit by Mingyur Rinpoche to Gampo Abbey, Tim started the Yongey Foundation to support and promote Mingyur Rinpoche’s activities in the West. Tim lives with his wife Glenna in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where he leads an active community that follows Mingyur Rinpoche’s teachings and those of his family lineage.
Antonia Sumbundu was first inspired to become a meditator after seeing a segment from The Lion’s Roar, a film about the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, but it was in 1988 after attending a talk by the Dalai Lama that she began practicing formally. Antonia’s first Buddhist teacher was the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Following his death in 1992, she studied with a variety of teachers, including Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. In 2002 she met Mingyur Rinpoche, and began to receive teachings from him.
Antonia was already a meditator with a keen interest in the clinical application of meditation when she began studying psychology. While chairing the Danish association for Cognitive Based Therapy, Antonia met Dr. Mark Williams, a renowned clinical psychologist and researcher in the field of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and began a long and productive collaboration with him. Antonia was one of the first psychologists to be trained in MBCT, and since then her work has focused on training professionals in MBCT and exploring the unique characteristics of MBCT supervision. She holds a Master’s degree in MBCT from Oxford University, and is an Associate with the Oxford Mindfulness Center.
A mother of two, Antonia lives in Denmark and has been involved with Tergar since its inception in 2009, as a leader in Tergar Copenhagen, as a facilitator, and now as an Instructor. She is also a member of the Tergar Board of Directors. She continues to play a key role in the training and mentoring of Tergar group leaders throughout Europe.
Facilitators guide meditation group sessions, offer meditation interviews, lead non-residential retreats, and nurture their local communities. They also facilitate Joy of Living programs, both in person and online.
Anya Adair grew up at Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre, which was founded in Scotland in 1967 by Akong Rinpoche. She was fortunate to meet many great meditation masters. She met Mingyur Rinpoche while visiting Palpung Sherab Ling in India in 2000 and became his student in 2003 when he began teaching Mahamudra in the United Kingdom. In 2017 she co-founded the Tergar Edinburgh practice group. Anya works as a Transplant and Liver/Pancreas Surgeon in Edinburgh and has been involved in outreach healthcare in Tibet and Nepal since 2003.
Isboset (Set) Amador began studying Buddhism in 2004 while visiting India, and became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 2006. Since then he has devoted his time to study, practice, and leadership of the Tergar community in Mexico. Set is Chief Technology Officer for Tergar International and is also a member of the Board of Directors.
Scott Anderson has practiced yoga and meditation since he was a teenager. Since meeting Mingyur Rinpoche in 2010, he has dedicated himself to the practice and dissemination of Rinpoche’s teachings as one of the founding leaders of Tergar Madison. Scott is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. At the UW, his research focuses on the interaction of meditation, athletics and physical recovery, and his teaching activities are focused on meditation and post-secondary well-being.
Frédéric Auquier has been practicing and studying meditation since 2001, and has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche since 2003. He works as a principal in an International High School in Paris and teaches literature. Since the fall of 2009, Frédéric has been in a leadership position with Tergar Meditation Community of Paris.
Gem Boord has been a practicing Buddhist since 1994. For three years he studied and practiced intensively at Kagyu Samye Ling monastery, then became a close student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso and remains so to this day. He felt a powerful connection with Mingyur Rinpoche when Rinpoche came to teach in his hometown of Brighton in 2003. Since then, he has followed Rinpoche and tries to apply his meditation instructions as much as possible. Short times, many times! Gem lives in the south of England with his daughter Yeshe, and, as part of a dedicated team, leads three weekly Tergar groups in Sussex.
Ya Ping Chang
Ya Ping Chang first encountered Buddhism when she was eighteen while studying in New York. Ya Ping was instrumental in organizing Rinpoche’s first visit to Brazil in 2006. She found the teachings eye-opening: “When I met him, I understood what it was to be on the meditation path.” Since that time Ya Ping has been instrumental in organizing Rinpoche’s numerous visits to the country. She is the director of Tergar Brazil and oversees and encourages its development and growth.
Franka Cordua-von Specht
Franka Cordua-von Specht was introduced to meditation in 2004 and became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 2007 in Vancouver. The meeting was pivotal and inspired her to attend Rinpoche’s teachings in Bodhgaya, India, in 2009. Foremost, she appreciates the profound transformative power of Rinpoche’s teachings on awareness, and in June 2013, she helped found the Tergar Vancouver Practice Group. Franka works for Tergar International on the Training Operations team.
As a teenager, Marcelo Csermák was drawn to study and ponder the deeper workings of the universe. He practiced meditation in various traditions before meeting Mingyur Rinpoche in 2010 in São Paulo. Marcelo holds a Ph.D. in Psychobiology, is one of the earliest mindfulness researchers in Brazil and directs an ambulatory care clinic that studies mindfulness and its effect on sleep and anxiety. Marcelo is a co-founder of Tergar Brazil.
Fionnuala Shenpen Daffy
Fionnuala Shenpen Daffy first met Mingyur Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche in Kathmandu in 1999. Since then she has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism under both of them as well as other Nyingma and Kagyu masters. She completed a three retreat at Chanteloube France under Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche 2008- 2012. From 2013 to 2020 she set up and ran Tsoknyi Gechak School for the school aged nuns at Tsoknyi Gechak Ling Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery Chobhar, Kathmandu. During this time she got involved with Tergar and with friends began running a practice group. She has now returned home to Ireland and is continuing her involvement with Tergar and creating community there.
Kelly Ekman had an interest in Buddhism and other Eastern traditions since a young age and spent much of her life exploring these belief systems. Kelly first met and took refuge with Mingyur Rinpoche in 2004. At his suggestion, she travelled to India and spent a number of years receiving teachings from Tai Situ Rinpoche, one of Rinpoche’s main root gurus. Kelly currently lives in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and now that she is retired, she is dedicating her life to promoting and advancing Mingyur Rinpoche’s teachings.
Mary Guo started regular Buddhism practices in 2001. Ever since she met Mingyur Rinpoche in 2007, Mary has been following him and involved in the group practice in Phoenix meditation center. Mary, a design engineer in the semiconductor industry, also enjoys yoga and tai chi.
Robin Harris grew up in a Tibetan Buddhist community in Scotland and helped to establish the Tergar Edinburgh Practice Group. He first met Mingyur Rinpoche in India in 2001 and has been practicing under his guidance since 2007. He spent four years in retreat between 2010 and 2014 and has since trained in teaching mindfulness to children. Robin’s main interest is working with young people, and he currently teaches meditation in schools.
Lucas first met Mingyur Rinpoche in India, in 2008. He spent the next three years pursuing a BA in Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan language in Kathmandu. After his studies, he moved back to Sweden and spent more time in solitary retreats between 2012 and 2015.
Lucas lives in the countryside of Sweden. In his work for Tergar International, he writes content and curriculums for the Joy of Living, Path of Liberation, and Vajrayana Online programs.
George Hughes discovered Eastern philosophy and meditation while in high school, and has been a student ever since. He has also studied and taught yoga, massage, and other holistic healing modalities. George helped to found the Stuart, Florida Tergar Community in 2010. He has co-managed Tergar meditation retreats in Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Nepal. While living in Kathmandu, he also supported Mingyur Rinpoche’s various education programs and served as Executive Course Administrator for the Tergar Institute of Contemplative Buddhism. George currently works in program delivery for Tergar International.
Marco Iturbe’s life-long love of reading became a bridge that introduced him to the Buddhist tradition. In 2010, Marco personally met Mingyur Rinpoche and became immersed in his teachings, motivated by his wife Gaby and daughter María Renee. A lawyer by profession, Marco is an active member of Tergar Puebla (México), where he collaborates in the growth and development of the Tergar community.
Kell Julliard has practiced meditation in a variety of traditions since his early twenties. In 2009 he met Mingyur Rinpoche and has since studied intensively with Rinpoche and the Tergar Meditation Community. During this time he has served as a mentor for the Tergar New York City Meditation Center and Tergar Elmira. In addition to Kell’s role with Tergar, he previously served as director of clinical research at a large federally qualified health center in Brooklyn, where he also taught mindfulness meditation to faculty, students, and staff. Kell currently teaches mindfulness meditation at the Sirius Community in Shutesbury, Massachusetts.
Kasumi grew up in northern Japan, where she learned to meditate from a young age. She has received extensive training in meditation and yoga, including over a year spent in solitary meditation retreats as well as numerous group retreats. She currently oversees Tergar’s activities in Japan and translates for Mingyur Rinpoche. She holds two Master’s degrees, and spent 15 years teaching Japanese at the University of Wisconsin. She now works for Tergar International as a curriculum expert. In her spare time, she loves to travel and spend time meditating in retreat.
Justin Kelley spent ten years living in India and Nepal, studying the Tibetan language, Hindu and Buddhist philosophical systems, and various meditative approaches. He first became a student of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche in 2007 and has practiced under his guidance ever since. In 2015 he became a PhD student at Rice University in the Department of Religion, where he studies with Dr. Anne C. Klein. His research focuses on the psychophysical transformation that occurs within religious practice, and the ways in which these practices influence our understandings of identity and the world we live in.
Irina Kuznetcova has been practicing and studying meditation since she became of student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 2011. She devotes a lot of her time as a practice leader for the Tergar Moscow community and plays a big role in organizing Mingyur Rinpoche’s visits to Moscow. Irina loves reading Russian literature, meeting new people, and helping others to learn about meditation.
Mai-Linh Leminhbach began her journey with Buddhist teachings and meditation at an early age with her Buddhist family and later continued learning from various Tibetan teachers. She became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 2008. She regularly serves as a translator for Buddhist teachings and has worked with the Tergar subtitling team for French. A co-founder of Dharmalaya Institute in Bir, India, she divides her time between India and Switzerland.
Laurel met Mingyur Rinpoche in 2003, and has since been a devoted student. Inspired by Rinpoche’s unique approach to teach meditation, Laurel has been instrumental in developing and expanding the Tergar Communities, for both English- and Chinese-speaking communities. She helped create Tergar San Francisco Bay Area and later, Tergar Medford in Oregon. She loves to travel the world and engage with people of all cultural backgrounds. She is currently retired and lives with her husband in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Jess McNally started meditating in 2009, and spent several years studying and practicing Buddhism full-time, including three years at a Zen Monastery and three years as a novice monastic in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She met Mingyur Rinpoche in Bodhgaya in January 2016 and has been practicing under his guidance since that time. She lives in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Haiwen Meng began studying and practicing Zen Buddhism and meditation in 2000. In 2006, he became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche and started to follow and practice Rinpoche’s teachings. Before his retirement, Haiwen worked as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and backpacking.
Mark Moore is an educator, artist, and writer who has been studying meditation, philosophy, and sustainable development in India since 1995. He had the good fortune to begin his studies with H.H. the Dalai Lama and other great and generous teachers, and to deepen them in the Joy of Living and Path to Liberation/Mahamudra trainings with Mingyur Rinpoche in the 2000s. Since then, Mark has been involved with Mingyur Rinpoche’s work in various capacities, from ecological initiatives to writing and video subtitling projects, and as a practice leader. He is the founder of the Earthville Network in the US and the Dharmalaya Institute in India, and now divides his time between the Himalayas, the Alps, and the Rockies.
Tsunma Kunsang Palmo
Tsunma Kunsang Palmo, originally from England, travelled and worked around the world as an art teacher in International schools for over a decade. On a trip to Nepal she encountered Lama Zopa Rinpoche and was so inspired by the teachings that she chose to stay in Asia and live a life immersed in the Dharma. Soon after that she travelled to Himachal Pradesh in North India where she met Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and was further inspired by her guidance and teachings. She went on to complete a three-year retreat at Sherabling Monastery under the guidance of Mingyur Rinpoche. Since then she has continued to study with Rinpoche and, as a Tergar International facilitator, has led Joy of Living workshops and retreats in India. She currently lives at Osel Ling Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Amy Roth is a long time meditator and has been a practice leader of the Tergar Meditation Community in Chicago for over 10 years. She presents essential meditation practices in a direct and accessible way that makes incorporating mindfulness and compassion into our modern lives simple, if not easy. Her work is inspired by the neuroscience research around the benefits of meditation for individuals, families and the larger community. She is a psychotherapist and mother living in Chicago.
Alexander Scherbinin has been practicing and studying meditation in a variety of traditions since 1998, and has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche since 2006. Professionally, Sasha is a management consultant. He has served in leadership for the Tergar Moscow since 2010.
Maya Sepulchre developed an interest in meditation and Buddhism while working for an NGO in Nepal. She has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche since 2007. Maya is a professional photographer, has also worked as a translator, and is a leader with Tergar Puebla. With the support of the Tergar en Español translation team, she translated Mingyur Rinpoche’s most recent book, “Transforming Confusion into Clarity,” for the Spanish community.
Virginie was first introduced to Buddhism in 1992 through Bokar Rinpoche. For six years she was a nun in India and Nepal. She first met Mingyur Rinpoche in 2001 but the “real” meeting was in 2011 through Rinpoche’s teaching videos. Ever since she has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche, and in 2014, Virginie founded the Tergar Rennes Practice Group. She currently is part of a Tergar team of French translators. She lives in the Brittany region of France and works as a psychotherapist.
Stephanie Wagner had been meditating for several years prior to meeting Mingyur Rinpoche in 2009. Immediately she felt a sense of connection to Rinpoche’s message that anything in daily life can be used an opportunity to wake up. Stephanie is a board-certified health coach with a Master of Arts in Integrative Health and Well-Being Coaching from the University of Minnesota and is a trainer and program specialist with Healthy Minds Innovations.
Justin Walker has been practicing and studying Tibetan Buddhism for over 20 years. He received his first teachings from Mingyur Rinpoche in 2003. In 2006 he assisted Rinpoche with the development of the Tergar community in Arizona. He lives in Tucson, AZ where he is an Associate Dean at the University of Arizona.
Holger Yeshe has been practicing meditation since 1999. He has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche since 2005. He ordained as a monk in 2010 and has been primarily focusing on studying the Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy. He has been a co-leader of Tergar groups in Nepal, Germany, and Dharamsala, India. After living abroad for 17 years, Holger Yeshe is back in Germany to support the Tergar community there.