Teachers

Over the 25+ years since Dorje Denma Ling was established, we have been fortunate to host many accomplished Buddhist and Shambhala teachers, as well as other directors who have shared their wisdom through contemplative arts, cultural and community-building retreats. The list is too long to present here.

The individuals featured on this page are teachers who will be leading online or in-person retreats during 2021.

Alain Beauregard

Alain Beauregard is a physicist and a high-tech entrepreneur as well as a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. At the age of 46, Alain was diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer which was inoperable and had spread to such a point that his doctors said he was incurable. In less than 3 months of receiving chemotherapy combined with working on the emotional cause of disease and doing spiritual healing practices, his cancer went into complete remission. Alain has been ‘clean’ to this date. This life-changing experience inspired Alain to give public talks and workshops about the powerful tools that Tibetan Buddhism…

Brian Callahan

Brian began studying Buddhism in 1972 while also studying for ordination as a Catholic priest. Ordained in 1981, Brian resigned from ministry in 1985 when he became a Buddhist. He joined the Shambhala community in 1986, received transmission from the Vajra Regent in 1988, and received Vajrayogini Abhisheka from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 1994. Brian completed the Söpa Choling 3-year retreat in 2003. Pema Chodron and the monastic council invited him to stay on at Gampo Abbey and serve as the Abbey’s executive director. Brian held that post until March of 2005. Since then he has taught Vajrayana and Shambhala…

Christine Heming

Christine Heming has been a meditation instructor and teacher of the buddhadharma for over 40 years.  She was a student of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, and is currently a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She has completed a three-year retreat in the Kagyu Buddhist tradition. She lives in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

Donna MacKenzie

Donna began studying with Dr. Eva Wong in 2010 and was authorized to teach Qigong Levels 1 and 2 in 2022. She is a Zen Buddhist practitioner, taught yoga for 14 years, currently works as an ecologist and a cook, plays music, and spends her time between Southern Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Elizabeth Callahan

(Joining Via Zoom) Elizabeth Callahan began her contemplative training and Tibetan studies in 1977, and completed two three-year retreats at Kagyu Thubten Chöling, New York, under the direction of Kalu Rinpoche. She is a student of Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, and has translated key texts of the Karma Kagyu tradition, including Mahamudra: Ocean of Definitive Meaning, Profound Inner Principles, and, most recently, Moonbeams of Mahamudra. She has been a Tsadra Foundation Fellow since 2002 and is the director of the Tsadra Foundation Studies Scholarship Program. Because of the current Covid situation in New York, Elizabeth Callahan won’t be travelling this…

Ellen Korman Mains

Ellen Korman Mains is a practitioner of Inner Relationship Focusing and has been a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage for over four decades. A close student of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche and Kanjuro Shibata Sensei XX, she has taught the Japanese art of Kyudo (Zen Archery) at Naropa University and internationally. In 2006, Ellen began traveling to Poland to explore basic goodness in the context of Holocaust. How could these co-exist? Her award-winning memoir, Buried Rivers: A Spiritual Journey into the Holocaust; (2018) explores family and religious boundaries, the impact of trauma on basic goodness, and the unexpected blessing…

Eve Rosenthal

Eve Rosenthal has been a practitioner and teacher in Shambhala for several decades. She spent many months in solitary retreat doing Vajrakilaya practice. She lead the first (and only) Vajrakilaya four karmas fire puja in the Shambhala community in 2009. Her course on the principles and short practice of Vajrakilaya can be found on the Shambhala Online platform. Eve leads programs for the public as well as advanced practitioners. She led several Warrior Assemblies in North America, Europe and South America, the first of which was the inaugural program at Dorje Denma Ling in 1993. Founder of Shambhala Online, Eve…

Hope Martin

Hope Martin has taught the Alexander Technique for 35 years, trained Alexander teachers for over two decades at the American Center for the Alexander Technique, and operates Hope Martin Studio in New York City. She is a Meditation Instructor, a Focusing trainer and has been a close student of Pema Chodron for 30 years. Her particular passion is in helping her students discover how easeful, upright posture is an expression of their human dignity, confidence, and innate wakefulness. To learn more about Hope’s work, visit hopemartinstudio.com

John McQuade

John McQuade is the founder of Nalanda Miksang Photography, and has established Nalanda Miksang teachers in North America, Europe and Australia. He is also co-author of two books in his field: Looking and Seeing, and Heart of Photography. He is currently on the faculty of the Halliburton School of Art and Design and is completing a PhD on the classic photographer, Edward Weston. John is also a practising Buddhist, having studied with Chogyam Trungpa from 1979 until Rinpoche’s death in 1987. Besides being an accomplished meditation master, Trungpa Rinpoche was also an artist, a poet and a photographer. Nalanda Miksang contemplative photography is based on the…

John Rockwell

John Rockwell has been on the path of dharma for 45 years. He met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1975 and studied and practiced the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings for 12 years with him, and in particular worked with him on translating Tibetan texts into English. For ten years, he studied and taught at Naropa University in the Buddhist Studies department. For many years, he served as an acharya or senior teacher for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and also studied intensively with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. John’s inspiration is to share the profound and practical teachings that he has received.  Explore John’s…

Juanita Evans

Juanita Evans became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1980 and attended the 1984 and 1986 Vajradhatu Seminaries. She has since studied with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, and other Kagyu teachers. In 2019, she completed a 10-year Nyingma course of practice and study with Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche. Juanita was an active leader in the Vancouver Shambhala Centre for many years in roles such as Dharmadhatu Coordinator and Vajrayana Practice and Education Coordinator. Now she devotes her time to study, practice, family, and development work for Shechen Monastery’s projects. She is currently one of the instructors for Ocean’s…

Karen Porterfield

Karen became a Buddhist in 1984 in Bodh Gaya, India, with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.  After receiving teachings from Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche, she continued her studies with many prominent Nyingma and Kagyü teachers over the next few years before landing in Boulder, where she became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  Since then, she has followed the practice path he laid out, recently completing her Vajrakilaya retreats.  For over thirty years, she has taught and led programs in Shambhala East Coast centres, as well as serving in various administrative roles including head of Practice & Study and of External Affairs for…

Kristine McCutcheon

Kristine McCutcheon has been meditating in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition for over 30 years including a three year retreat. Studying the dharma has led her to travel to Nepal and India and then back to Nova Scotia. Drawing on her background as a Montessori teacher, Kristine presents the dharma in a hands-on way, incorporating movement, song and contemplation to help participants ground in shamatha meditation. Taking her teachers’ examples to heart, Kristine is a householder and lives with her partner in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, between the mountain and the ocean.          

Larry Mermelstein

Beginning in 1971, Larry Mermelstein became a close student of the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and scholar. He has served as a senior teacher in the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community for many years, as well as having been a member of the board of directors. He is a founding member and the executive director of the Nalanda Translation Committee for over forty years and is a long-time consulting editor to Shambhala Publications.

Margaret Jones Callahan

​Margaret believes in the transformative power of Mindfulness Based Art. She leads mindfulness-based education programs combining her coaching skills with her experience as a senior meditation instructor, clinical counselor and registered art therapist. Margaret has taught Mindfulness Art for 40 years, and offers Open Studio sessions at Windhorse Studio, in Indian Harbour, NS. In 2011, she founded the Mindfulness Based Art Therapy Summer Institute to train clinicians and educators. She has led MBAT training sessions internationally and consults to School Boards and mental health agencies. With Brian, her life partner, Margaret lives and works in the vibrant artist community of…

Mark Nowakowski

Mark Nowakowski met the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and has been his student ever since. He currently studies with other Kagyü and Nyingma masters. Mark is a senior member of the Nalanda Translation Committee and a senior teacher in the Shambhala mandala. He did his first Fire Offering in 1985, and his second that same year with the Vidyadhara, and with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche the following year. Since then he has led many Amending and Four Karma Fire Offerings. In 2006, he requested the Sakyong’s blessing and permission to do weekend rite-of-aid fire offerings to benefit our mandala…

Martin Evans

Martin Evans began studying Buddhism in the early 1970’s and began to study and practice with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1976. Martin has been teaching Buddhism and Shambhala Training since 1981. He oversaw practice and education at the Vancouver Shambhala Centre, acting as Centre Director and Shambhala Training Director for many years. For the past several years he has been a teacher on Ocean, leading courses based on Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s audio recordings, as well as being a teacher and meditation instructor for the Ocean Kagyu Ngöndro Practice Group.

Matilda Perks

Matilda (Tillie) Perks is a Ph.D. student at McGill University who studies the history of Buddhist modernism(s) and Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet with a focus on the life and works of Tibetan lama, Chögyam Trungpa (1940-1987), and the development of the Vajradhatu community. She was born into the Shambhala community and has been a practitioner of Buddhist meditation for 25 years.

Richard John

An early student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Richard served as acharya for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for 20 years. He completed the first three-year retreat at Gampo Abbey, and now teaches Shambhala Buddhist meditation courses full time. Richard and his wife Liz reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sam West, 'Somo' of Kozan Kyudojo

Sam began kyudo in Boulder in 1980 with Sendai, Shibata Kanjuro Sensei XX, who had been invited  by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to teach kyudo in Colorado. In 1984 Sam became responsible (Somo) for Toko Kyudojo in Manhattan.  He traveled to kyudo programs with Sendai during the 80’s and, in 1987, became responsible for Kozan Kyudojo in Nova Scotia.  Sendai sent Sam to help foster kyudo and develop dojos in Europe and the US. In 1999 Sendai requested Sam to organize and develop all the kyudojos  within Zenko International from Boulder. There, Sam lived with Sendai, cared for him, studied kyudo,…

Scott Wellenbach

Scott Wellenbach has been a member of the Nalanda Translation Committee for over 30 years. He was an early student of Trungpa Rinpoche and is now a member of Ponlop Rinpoche’s Nithartha faculty. Scott is known for his learned and accessible teaching style, with particular emphasis on Mahamudra instructions.

Shastri Steve Gleich

Shastri Steve Gleich feels very fortunate to have received teachings from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and their senior students and to have been in the Shambhala Buddhist world since 1982. He is now retired from 30+ years career in psychology and mental health and 10+ years career as woodworker. He has been married to Lilly for 38 years, and they are now living in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. He continues to volunteer with Dorje Denma Ling, Tatamagouche Shambhala Meditation Group, Dorje Kasung Land Group, and the local food bank.

Tom Bell, Senior Teacher

Tom Bell became a student of the Vidyadhara in 1972, and has been active since then in direct service to both of the Sakyongs and also to the current Sakyong Wangmo. He was on the staff of RMDC (Shambhala Mountain Centre) in the mid-70s, was the director of Karme Choling from 2000-2003, and has been an active Shambhala teacher since 1976. He has worked to support his family through a career in business and economic development in Colorado and Nova Scotia. His immediate family now numbers fifteen, including his wife, three children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren.

Valerie Lorig

Valerie Lorig, M.Ed., LPC, has been a meditation practitioner and student of Tibetan Buddhism since she was 20 years old; studying extensively with Trungpa Rinpoche for fourteen years. A faculty member at Naropa University, she teaches courses on The Psychology of Mindfulness Meditation, Learning from Trauma, and Hakomi Somatic Psychology. A Licensed Professional Counselor at Auspicious Coincidence Counseling, she is trained in mindfulness, trauma, and somatic healing methods. Valerie has lead retreats and meditation programs throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and India. As a former art director at a Native American label, Silver Wave Records, her work with Native artists…