Gen Don Handrick
Don attended the FPMT’s Masters Program of Buddhist Studies in Sutra and Tantra, a seven-year residential study program conducted at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Tuscany, Italy, taught by Geshe Jampa Gyatso. He successfully completed all five subjects of this program in 2004, receiving an FPMT final certificate with high honors.
Don then moved to Santa Fe serving as the Spiritual Program Coordinator for center before being appointed as the resident teacher from 2006-2020.
Ven. Sangye Khadro
Ven. Robina Courtin
Ven. Amy Miller
Amy J. Miller (Ven. Lobsang Chodren) first encountered Buddhism in 1987 at Kopan Monastery in Nepal and has been ordained since 2000. She has spent a great deal of time engaged in meditation retreats, study, teaching, and Buddhist center management. Prior to studying Buddhism, Amy was a political fundraiser in Washington, DC and also worked for Mother Jones Magazine in San Francisco, California. She also trained as a hospice counselor during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and offers courses and retreats on death and dying and end-of-life care.
Amy also leads pilgrimages to Buddhist sites. Her next trek is in 2022 to the Lawudo Retreat Center, Mount Everest region of Nepal. A 3-day retreat will be included along with a visit to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s birthplace. See www.AmyMiller.com for more information.
Amy’s teaching style helps people connect with meditation and mindfulness in an effort to gain a refreshing perspective on normally stressful living.
She is also the co-author of FPMT’s Buddhism in a Nutshell. For more information on Amy’s teaching schedule and courses, see www.AmyMiller.com. Amy currently resides in Philadelphia in the United States.
Dr. Nicholas Ribush
Dr. Nicholas Ribush, MB, BS, is a graduate of Melbourne University Medical School (1964) who first encountered Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in 1972. Since then he has been a student of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche and a full time worker for the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. He was a monk from 1974 to 1986. In 1975, with Lama Yeshe, he established Wisdom Publications; in 1977 Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre, New Delhi; in 1989 Kurukulla Center, Boston; and in 1996, the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Boston, which he now directs. He was a member of the FPMT board of directors from its inception in 1983 until 2002.
Gina de la Chesnaye
Gina de la Chesnaye is a contemplative based trauma and resiliency instructor and facilitator specializing in meditation, yoga, Qi Gong and Martial Arts. She is on the faculty of numerous organizations and works with private clients as well as trains clinical social workers, trauma therapists and humanitarian aid workers. Gina is the founder and director of The Nachan Project which offers mind body practices and humanitarian aid to the women and children of the Katwe slums, in Kampala, Uganda as well trainings in East Africa.
She is a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Venerable Robina Courtin and has led numerous volunteer and relief trips to Nepal.
Gelong Thubten Tsultrim – (George Churinoff)
Born in Chicago in 1945. Graduated MIT in ’67 with a BSc in Physics. After a couple years of graduate school in Physics, taught at Choate School in Connecticut and American Community School in Beruit. Attended the 7th Kopan course in 1974 and took initial ordination with Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in December 1975; Getsul in 1976 with Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Gelong in 1977 with Kyabje Ling Rinpoche.
Taught a one month Kopan course in the spring of 1977. Studied and meditated at Kopan and in Dharamsala for four years. Was SPC at Manjushri Institute in England and studied and taught there for more than three years.
After six months of teachings in India at the first Dharma celebration, became SPC at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy. Studied and taught there for around seven years. Help start the Seven Year Study Program, teaching and translating the written material for Abhisamayalamkara, Madhyamakavatara and part of Abhidharmakosha.
Was SPC and principal teacher at Tushita Delhi for two years while earning an MA in Buddhist Studies from Delhi University. Studied at the Institute of Dialectics in Dharamsala and the Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath.
Was the English tutor of Lama Osel Rinpoche at Sera Monastery in India for more than three years. Was principal teacher at Hiyagriva Centre in Perth, Australia and at Dorje Chang Institute in New Zealand for around two years while teaching some courses of the Basic Program. Helped found the FPMT Center in Mongolia and taught there for around six months.
He was the teacher at the founding of Thubten Norbu Ling, Tibetan Buddhist Center, Santa Fe, NM, August 2000 till February 2001. Taught the Basic Program at Land of Medicine Buddha in 2003 and 2004 and the 2005 Kopan Course. For six years, George lived at Deer Park with Kyabje Geshe Sopa in Madison, WI, teaching at Deer Park and editing Geshe-la’s teachings on Lama Tzong Khapa’s commentary to Madhyamakavatara.
After leaving Deer Park in late 2012, George found a cabin North of Asheville, NC, and has been doing retreat there and occasionally teaching at Amitabha Buddhist Center, Singapore, Maitripa Institute in Portland, OR, Guhyasamaja Center in Washington, DC, Kadampa Center in Raleigh, NC and other centers. He finished a three year retreat on May 31, 2018. Recently, during the Covid pandemic, George has been giving occasional teachings via Zoom.
Ven. George Churinoff received extensive teachings in both the Sutra and Tantra traditions from the most qualified Tibetan masters and have done many retreats and has taught around the world in America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Jan Willis (BA and MA in Philosophy, Cornell University; PhD in Indic and Buddhist Studies, Columbia University) is Professor Emerita of Religion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and now Visiting Professor of Religion at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland, and the U.S. for five decades, and has taught courses in Buddhism for over forty-five years. She is the author of The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979), Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995); and the editor of Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989). Additionally, Willis has published numerous articles and essays on various topics in Buddhism—Buddhist meditation, saints’ lives, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. In 2001, her memoir, Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey was published. It was re-issued in 2008 by Wisdom Publications as Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist.
In December of 2000, TIME magazine named Willis one of six “spiritual innovators for the new millennium.” In 2003, she was a recipient of Wesleyan University’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She has been profiled in Newsweek magazine and in Ebony magazine which named Willis one of its “Power 150” most influential African Americans. Her latest work is Dharma Matters: Women, Race and Tantra–Collected Essays by Jan Willis, published in April of this year.
Karuna Cayton has been a practicing Buddhist for over 45 years. From 1975-1988 he lived at Kopan Monastery working for the late Lama Thubten Yeshe. Upon returning to the US he got his Masters in clinical psychology. Karuna has worked for over 30 years as a psychotherapist (MFT31860), teacher, business psychologist, and coach to help people achieve a more balanced life. His mission is to interpret the ancient teachings of Buddhist thought into modern language and interventions…without changing the purity of these universal ideas.
Kerry Prest is the Center Director at Jamyang Leeds, United Kingdom. He is a former monk who studied at Nalanda Monastery in France. Kerry has worked full time for FPMT in various roles such as Education Coordinator, Events Manager and Director as well as teaching at many centers and organizations around the world. Kerry has a unique perspective in both secular ways of learning about the great traditions of Tibet.
Miffi Maxmillion is the SPC at Langri Tangpa Centre, Brisbane Australia and is an FPMT registered teacher. Miffi was brought up a Buddhist and had the great good fortune to play with Lama Yeshe as a child. His hook of compassion sustained her through the many rebellious stages of growing up. She took refuge with Lama Yeshe at age 10, and did her first lamrim and Nyung-ne with Lama Zopa Rinpoche at age 16.
She left behind a thriving haute couture and costume business to help her mother Inta Mckimm (who founded LTC), when she became sick with cancer. Packing her bags for two weeks, she ended up continuing her mother’s life work and running the program. She is still there, teaching classes and leading pujas with great enthusiasm and joy, over twenty years later!
Miffi’s passion is in bridging the seemingly disparate worlds of modern life and the rich inner experience of Buddhist practice. She readily admits to watching far too much late night TV and is an avid New Yorker Magazine reader.
Due to fortunate conditions, Rachel began meditating as a child and focusing on an academic study of Buddhist philosophy in 1984. This led to interest in several forms of Buddhist meditation. Having further opportunities to study with teachers in several lineages, eventually she joined Maitripa College’s first cohort, earning an MA in Buddhist Studies. Her experience with teaching includes 15 years of mostly public school K-12 curriculum (with a second MA from PSU) and facilitating courses (mostly Discovering Buddhism and Introduction retreats) in FPMT centers since 2009. Holding a serious interest in the secular ethics work of FDCW and Emory University, Rachel is currently teaching middle school English. She aspires to pursue more training as a translator of Tibetan language in addition to being a mother and daughter, sister and friend who writes, walks, breathes and works on her mind.
Ven. Tenzin Gendun
Ven. Tenzin Gendun was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in England. He went to art school and received a degree in illustration before meeting Tibetan Buddhism in 1991 through the kindness of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Holiness the Dalai Lama. After his ordination in 1992, Ven. Gendun worked in FPMT centres in New Zealand. In 2000, Ven Gendun moved to Nalanda Monastery in France to deepen his studies with FPMT’s Basic Program and Masters Program. Ven. Gendun currently teaches at FPMT study groups in Europe.
Shankha Mitra has been an aspiring Buddhist since the mid-1990s after Kyabje Lama Zips Rinpoche turned his mind towards the Dharma and he started attending retreats at Vajrapani Institute near San Francisco. He has attended many retreats with Rinpoche and other great masters. He has been on the board at Vajrapani Institute and at Kadampa Center in Raleigh, NC. From 2017-2019 he was Spiritual Program Coordinator at Vajrapani Institute. Shankha is an FPMT Registered Teacher.
By day he works as a computer scientist. In his spare time he loves to study Dharma texts and enjoys playing the violin, participating in amateur chamber groups, and listening to opera. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife Deirdre, who is also a Buddhist, and two (not yet Buddhist) rescue dogs. They have two college-aged–and still crazy–kids.
Bob Albers has spent his working career as a research-level theoretical physicist focused on the study of outer science. Beginning in 2004, he has also dedicated himself to a serious study of the inner science of Buddhism. Now retired, he loves nothing better than to study, practice, and to delve deeper into Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy, particularly by reading and contemplating the classic texts and commentaries, and contemporary academic monographs. He has taught in the Liberation Prison Project and facilitates our Level 2 courses: Buddhism in a Nutshell and Meditation-101.
Julie works full time at the New Mexico School for the Deaf. She is the proud mother of a rambunctious 2 year old. She loves working with and helping to grow young minds and hearts. Julie has been a member of Thubten Norbu Ling for several years, including serving on the Board. Julie looks forward to helping to expand our Center’s programming to the youth of Santa Fe and elsewhere.
Stephen has been a member of Thubten Norbu Ling community for several years.
His goals are to gain a deeper understanding and experience by facilitating meditation practice; to help others benefit from setting up their own meditation practice; and to give back for all the teaching and support by helping Thubten Norbu Ling offer educational programs for members and the public.
Charmaine first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in 1999 at her first teaching with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She is also a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and has served Rinpoche’s center, Thubten Norbu Ling, since 2005. She served as Spiritual Program Coordinator from 2006 – 2009 and has led weekly meditation at the center for the last fifteen years. She has also served on the board of directors since 2019. She is a licensed psychotherapist, and an avid hiker and traveler — especially for dharma!
Ven. Losang Dondrub
Ven. Dondrub began studying the Dharma on his own followed by study at Drepung Loseling Institute in Atlanta in 2008. He became involved with Guhyasamaja Center after moving to D.C. in 2010. Ven. Dondrub took refuge vows from Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa in May of 2011 and novice monk ordination vows in October 2013.
Ven. Dondrub has been Guhyasamaja Center’s Spiritual Program Coordinator and a board member since June 2014. He is a Discovering Buddhism class leader and works on fundraising, advertising, and communications for the center.
Ven. Katy Cole
Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Ven. Katy Cole has been a Buddhist nun for over 16 years. Since 2003, Ven. Katy has served in a variety of positions at FPMT including Liberation Prison Project’s SPC, chaplain coordinator, and on the US Board of Directors. For the past five years Ven. Katy has visited Lawudo Gompa for retreat and helped Ani La Ngawang Samden with offerings in Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s cave and care of the baby cows. In 2008 she completed a one-year retreat at FPMT’s De-Tong Ling Retreat center. Ven. Katy is currently at Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s home in Aptos looking after the hundreds of daily offerings.
Ven. Thubten Chöying
Ven. Thubten Chöying/Sarah Brooks has been involved in FPMT for many years, studying and offering service at centers and projects in the United States and New Zealand. She has been a Foundation Service Seminar trainer and helped pilot the teacher training seminar After ordaining in January 2020 at Kopan in Nepal, she moved to Khachoe Ghakyil Ling (Kopan’s) Nunnery, where she is currently taking both in-person and online classes in the Basic Program, Tibetan language, and debate logic.
Claudio’s first real venture into Tibetan Buddhism was in July 1994, during one of Kopan Monastery’s summer courses. He remained curious about Buddhism in the ensuing years, but never made any formal commitment. Fast forward to summer 2003 in Santa Fe, when a friend suggested he should check out Thubten Norbu Ling. Much to his surprise, TNL was directly affiliated with Kopan Monastery. After gingerly dipping his toes into TNL, he would later serve on the Board for ten years (five years as Board President) and would receive his ngondro from Lama Zopa in 2013. When not joyfully leading Vajrasattva Practice, Claudio can be found at Garson Film Studios, where he serves as Managing Director or on a film set with his production company. He is originally from Milan, Italy.
In the early 1980’s Rowena Mayer met the dharma for the first time when she attended a teaching with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Santa Cruz, CA. After she started going to Vajrapani Center in Boulder Creek, CA, for classes and retreats while she raised a family and worked as a teacher.
In 2002 she moved to Santa Fe, NM and found Thubten Norbu Ling, and four years later she became the Center Director and guided the development of the program and community for twelve years. Rowena continues to support the center by leading protector practice and attending classes and pujas regularly.
Michael D. Jolliffe
Michael D. Jolliffe was assistant editor for ten years at Mandala, the official magazine of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). After graduating from Maitripa College he took advanced studies in the Maitripa Vajrayana certificate program.
Currently, Michael works in FPMT International Office’s Education Services department.
He is an active member within the Maitripa College community leading rituals and volunteering. At Yangsi Rinpoche’s request, Michael also teaches Discovering Buddhism and meditation in Maitripa’s Jokhang meditation hall.