Ramesh has been part of the Common Ground sangha since 2006 and joined the Board of Directors in 2016. He is a Geriatric psychiatrist and has a deep professional interest in understanding the complex and dynamic interplay between our minds and bodies that often underlie many physical and mental health illnesses. His spiritual practice too is guided by the Buddha's advice about the deep wisdom inherent in our bodies - “within this very fathom-long body, with its perceptions and inner sense, lies the world, the cause of the world, the cessation of the world and the path that leads to the cessation of the world.” He shares some of his experiences through workshops at Common Ground on mindfulness and chronic pain, and finding wisdom in our bodies.
He is drawn to Buddha Dharma by the simplicity and universality of its message, and its focus on practice and self-reliance, without the compulsion to believe specific creeds or dogmas. He especially values the importance given to ethical conduct, compassion and generosity.
Rebecca Bradshaw is the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley (www.insightpv.org) in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and one at the guiding teachers at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. "My passion is encouraging students to drop into embodied presence, and grounding this presence in wisdom and lovingkindness. When a sense of love and kindness underlies our practice, we can explore life deeply in a truly integrated way, bringing together mind, heart, and body. Wisdom then holds it all in spaciousness. I especially enjoy connecting with young people in the Dharma, teaching students on longer retreats, supporting sangha on a community level, and sharing the dharma in Spanish."
Rita M. Gross was internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion. She was also a Buddhist dharma teacher having been appointed to that position by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche.
Rita Gross taught on a wide variety of topics and led meditation retreats of varying lengths. She specialized in bringing together the values and perspective of academic research and Buddhist dharma teachings.
Robb Reed discovered the peace and joy that comes with meditation after a week with Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village, France in 1993. Upon his return, he practiced at the Minnesota Zen Center. He came to Common Ground in 2002. Since his retirement from teaching in the Minneapolis Public Schools for 27 years, he has delighted in the freedom of taking longer retreats. Robb ordained as a monk for 6 weeks in Myanmar in 2015 and the following year spent 6 weeks on retreat at Insight Meditation Society followed by another 6 weeks at Temple Forest Monastery. He works part-time for the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
Ruth King is an insight meditation teacher and emotional wisdom author and life coach. Mentored in Theravada Buddhism and the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, King teaches at insight meditation communities nationwide and offers the Mindful of Race Training program to teams and organizations. King is on the teacher’s council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is the author of several publications including Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism From The Inside Out. www.RuthKing.net
Santikaro lived with Ajahn Buddhadasa during the last nine years of his life and became his primary translator. Ordained as a Theravada Bhikkhu in 1985, Santikaro spent most of his monastic life at Suan Mokkh. During this time he led Dawn Kiam, a small monastic community for foreigners. He is the founder of Liberation Park, a modern expression of Buddhist practice, study, and social responsibility, located in rural southwestern Wisconsin. There he continues to teach, explore nature, and translate the work of his teacher. He teaches Buddhism and meditation with an emphasis on the early Pali sources and is a lucid interpreter of the original teachings and discourses.
The most compelling part of my practice right now comes in the form of my writing. For a long time, I've focused my teaching and writing on lovingkindness. Now as I look more deeply into lovingkindness, I find that it actually rests on another foundation, the expression of faith.
Faith is the topic I am exploring most in teaching and writing. Today there is a tremendous upsurge of interest in a new kind of faith, based on a practice where people can experience a direct spirituality, one without rigid dogma or compulsory belief in a specific cosmology. This is a spirituality that rests on personal transformation.
Vipassana allows us to take a method of mind training and craft a way of life that is more compassionate, more ethical and more powerful than our unawakened lives. The Buddha's teachings give us an immediate experience of what we can do to change. Faith in the teachings means we align ourselves with a vision of our greatest possibilities. This is the heart of the practice.