A practitioner of meditation for twenty-two years, Frédéric Auquier has studied Buddhism and practiced meditation in retreat settings in France and abroad. In addition to his work as a facilitator for the Tergar community, he works as a principal in an International High School located in Paris and teaches French Literature to 11th graders.
Frédéric has a master’s degree in French literature from Sorbonne University and a teaching degree from the French Ministry of Education. He also studied Mandarin in Beijing University and Taipei Normal University.
Frédéric lives in Paris, and he travels with his students in Asia whenever possible to help them improve their language skills in Mandarin and discover the richness of Asian culture.
Franka Cordua-von Specht has a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of British Columbia, Canada. She spent years working in First Nations communities, first as a journalist on Vancouver Island and then as a college instructor in Canada’s far north, where she learned about living in remote communities and the midnight sun.
Franka was introduced to meditation in 2004, during a most challenging period in her life. Like many others, she remembers how helpful it was to read Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart. In 2007, she became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche. She later attended Rinpoche’s teachings in Bodhgaya in 2009 and more recently trekked through the Nubri Valley to Rinpoche’s hometown of Samagaun in Nepal.
Franka helped found the Tergar Vancouver Practice Group in 2013 and Tergar Canada in 2017. In 2017, Franka joined the Community Leadership-Training team of Tergar International. More recently she worked as the Training Operations Lead to develop and implement the Meditation Teacher Program.
When Franka is not hiking in beautiful Victoria, BC, with her four-legged sidekick, a Brittany Spaniel, she is attending teachings and retreats, learning about Family Systems work, and creating dharma cartoons.
Cortland Dahl has practiced meditation for thirty years and has studied Buddhism around the world. He has spent time on retreat in monasteries and retreat centers throughout Japan, Burma, India, and Nepal, and for eight years he lived in Tibetan refugee settlements near Kathmandu.
Cortland 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 Chairman and Co-Executive Director of Tergar International, Cortland serves as Research Scientist and Chief Contemplative Officer at UW-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds.
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.
Cortland lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time on retreat and traveling with his family.
Having trained with The Mindfulness in Schools Project and Youth Mindfulness in Scotland, Robin Harris is a certified teacher of mindfulness for children and young people. He has a master’s degree in Social Anthropology and Development from the University of Edinburgh and a background in nature-based youth work.
Robin grew up in a Tibetan Buddhist community in Scotland and developed his own interest in Buddhism and meditation when he first traveled to India and met Mingyur Rinpoche in 2001. He has been practicing these teachings formally since 2007 and spent four years in traditional Tibetan Buddhist retreat between 2010 and 2014.
In addition to his role as a facilitator, Robin works for Tergar International as part of the Events team. He is also a cofounder of the Tergar Edinburgh Meditation Community and assists with the ongoing management of this group as a trustee and practice leader.
Robin lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He enjoys spending time in nature, loves connecting with people from all walks of life, and brings a playful sense of humor to his work and life in general.
Lucas Henriksson has a bachelor’s degree in Buddhist Philosophy and Himalayan Languages from the Rangjung Yeshe Institute at Kathmandu University. He also is a certified Somatic Educator in the tradition of Thomas Hanna.
When Lucas was twenty years old, he traveled to India to explore Buddhism. He met Mingyur Rinpoche in 2008 and spent the next seven years studying and practicing as a Buddhist monk. After his studies, he spent the next few years in and out of retreat.
Currently, Lucas is the curriculum developer for Tergar’s Vajrayana Online and Path of Liberation and a Tergar facilitator supporting European and online retreats.
Lucas lives in the countryside of Sweden with his partner, Sofia, and their son and daughter. When not writing Vajrayana Online courses, he enjoys spending time with his children and ending his days with a good book and a cup of tea.
George Hughes has launched several businesses in his career and has served on the Board of Directors for a number of not-for-profit organizations. He is currently an officer and director of Tergar Schools and Tergar Institute, and a faculty member of the latter.
George began his journey into meditation and the wisdom traditions as a teenager and has done numerous personal retreats in Asia and North America. His main teachers, Mingyur Rinpoche and Tai Situ Rinpoche, have had a profound impact on his own practice and how he facilitates meditation groups with joy, levity, simplicity, and structure.
George has served as a Tergar International facilitator for Mingyur Rinpoche’s programs in the Americas and Asia, and he has co-managed Tergar meditation retreats across the United States and in Nepal. He founded the Tergar community in Stuart, Florida, in 2010.
In addition to meditation, George has studied and taught yoga, massage, and other holistic healing modalities. He has also organized a number of fundraising treks in the Himalayas to aid Mingyur Rinpoche’s social engagement and education projects in Nepal.
Kell Julliard has a master’s degree in Expressive Therapy from the University of Louisville and a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Direction from the University of Arizona. With academic appointments at several universities including New York University School of Medicine, for twenty-five years he mentored medical and dental residents in learning about, designing, and implementing clinical research. He is certified as a mindfulness teacher through the International Mindfulness Teachers Association.
Kell has studied intensively and done retreats with Mingyur Rinpoche since the founding of Tergar International in 2009. Over the course of his life, he has practiced deeply in other meditation traditions, including Sufism, Qabalah, shamanism, and Christianity.
Kell has served as a practice leader for Tergar since 2009, as a facilitator for Joy of Living programs since 2013, and as a mentor for Tergar groups in the northeastern US. He also teaches meditation regularly for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
Kell lives with his husband in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. He enjoys playing classical chamber music on pipe organ and flute, painting icons, and spending time in nature.
Kasumi Kato is an experienced educator and meditation practitioner. She holds two master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where she taught the Japanese language for nearly two decades.
Kasumi’s interest in meditation began in her childhood in Japan, where she learned to meditate from a young age. In 2011, she encountered Mingyur Rinpoche’s teachings and has been practicing under his guidance ever since. She has completed over a year in solitary meditation retreat, in addition to many group retreats in the Tergar community. Kasumi has also studied with some of the most respected teachers in the Tibetan tradition, including Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, and Thrangu Rinpoche.
Kasumi currently works full-time for Tergar International as a curriculum specialist, developing Tergar meditation programs, and as a facilitator. She also oversees the activities of Tergar Japan and leads meditation workshops and retreats around the world.
Outside of her professional work, Kasumi lives with her husband Cortland and stepson, CJ, in Madison, Wisconsin. In her free time, Kasumi enjoys personal retreats, traveling, and hiking in nature.
Edwin Kelley first became interested in Buddhism in 1975 when he attended a meditation retreat near Perth, Australia. Then 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. Edwin first encountered Vajrayana Buddhism in Dharamsala, India, in 1993 and became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 1998.
Edwin has a postgraduate degree in Buddhist Studies from the University of Sunderland, UK. 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.
In 2009, Edwin moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to help establish the global Tergar Meditation Community, where he then served variably as Executive Director, Co-Executive Director, and CFO. He retired from his administrative role in 2022 and continues to lead programs and support students of Mingyur Rinpoche in his role as an instructor.
After living for thirty years in the USA, Edwin has returned to his place of birth, the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, Australia. He plans to settle there with his wife, Myoshin.
At a young age, Myoshin decided that school could not teach her what she wanted to know and decided that life would be her teacher. This led her to a lifelong journey of living in spiritual communities while exploring the inner terrain of being human.
Myoshin received dharma instruction from renowned Buddhist teachers Chanmyay Sayadaw, Sayadaw U Pandita, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, and Hogen Yamahata. She also developed a great love of retreats and at one point temporarily ordained as a nun in Myanmar.
Myoshin’s training as a meditation teacher began with Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in 1994. She was appointed the teacher in residence at the Forest Refuge, the long-term practice center at IMS, in 2003.
In 1998, Myoshin was introduced to Mingyur Rinpoche. Twelve years later she moved to Minneapolis to help Rinpoche and others with the formation of Tergar Meditation Community. For a decade she led the team to oversee the formation of Tergar meditation groups and the training of Tergar community leaders. As a Tergar instructor, Myoshin leads programs that experientially explore how the practice of meditation and the wisdom of an open heart support the path of awakening.
Nature has been a strong teacher and support for Myoshin throughout her life. She loves to do solitary retreats in nature as well as hike, bike, cross-country ski, and now swim in the ocean on the beautiful Sapphire Coast in Australia, where she lives with her husband Edwin.
Mai-Linh Leminhbach earned a law degree from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and is a senior faculty member at Dharmalaya Institute for Compassionate Living in Bir, India, which she cofounded in 2008. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Ligmincha France/Switzerland and for the Earthville Network.
Mai-Linh began her journey with Buddhist teachings and meditation at an early age thanks to her Buddhist family and later continued learning from Tibetan Buddhist teachers of different lineages. She became a student of Mingyur Rinpoche in 2007 and has been practicing under his guidance since then. Since 2010 she has spent at least two months in retreat each year.
As a Tergar facilitator, Mai-Linh leads Joy of Living workshops and retreats. She serves as a French-English translator for Tergar, Ligmincha, and other Buddhist communities. She also guides meditation and tsa-lung practices for the Ligmincha community.
Mai-Linh divides her time between India and Switzerland. She enjoys collaborating on service-oriented projects and enjoys meditation retreats in the mountains and forests of India, Thailand, and Switzerland.
Jess McNally has devoted much of her adult life to practicing and studying Buddhism. After completing both a Bachelor and a Master of Science degree in Earth Systems at Stanford University, she moved to Zen Mountain Monastery, where she trained for over three years. During that time she completed over forty week-long sesshins (silent retreats). She then decided to pursue Tibetan Buddhism and was ordained as a monastic by Thrangu Rinpoche in 2015. She met Mingyur Rinpoche shortly afterward at Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya, India, and knew immediately he was her main teacher. Under Mingyur Rinpoche’s guidance, she completed two months-long solitary retreats in Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s cave in the Himalayas. Later she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to participate in the Tergar community and the Center for Healthy Minds. In 2018, Jess chose to return to lay life and her homeland in Alberta, Canada.
Jess now serves as a Tergar facilitator and host for online retreats and supports a local practice group. Jess also works remotely as a science writer on global food security issues for the University of Montreal. In her downtime, she loves to backcountry ski, run, and bike in the mountains with her dog Pema.
Tim Olmsted began his Buddhist studies in 1977 under the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. In 1981, Mingyur Rinpoche’s father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, was invited to teach in Boulder. Profoundly moved by him, Tim and his family moved to Kathmandu just a few months later to study with Tulku Urgyen and his sons.
During the twelve years that he lived in Nepal, Tim studied with many of the most renowned teachers living there and worked as a psychotherapist serving the international community. In 2000, Tim moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, at the invitation of Pema Chödrön, where he served for three years as the director of Gampo Abbey, the largest residential Buddhist monastery in North America. He is the founder and president of the Pema Chödrön Foundation, which supports monastic training and communities in need around the world.
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. Since its inception, Tim has been one of the five instructors for Mingyur Rinpoche’s worldwide meditation community, Tergar International.
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.
Tsunma Kunsang Palmo, originally from England, traveled 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 traveled 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.
Continuing to take teachings from Rinpoche, Kunsang serves as a meditation and dharma teacher for Tergar’s Joy of Living and Vajrayana Online courses, Tergar retreats, and the Tergar Institute in Osel Ling Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. In 2021 she was invited to teach in Antigua and Trinidad for Bodhicharya, an international organization founded by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. She now divides her time sharing what she has learned through her years of study and practice in Kathmandu, India, and the Caribbean.
Fionnuala Shenpen Daffy has studied and practiced Buddhism since meeting her main teachers Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche in Kathmandu in 1999. She has received teachings from many other Nyingma and Kagyu masters and completed a traditional four-year retreat under Pema Wangyal Rinpoche in France.
Fionnuala lived in Nepal for fifteen years. From 2003–2005 she lived at Osel Ling Monastery, continued her studies of Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy, and assisted the Gompa Manager Lama Tashi. She accompanied Tsoknyi Rinpoche on the trip to Nangchen Tibet that resulted in the documentary Blessings. From 2013–2020, at Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s request, she set up and ran a school at Tsoknyi Gechak Ling, Kathmandu. Keeping Buddhist ethics at the core she incorporated learner-centered teaching methods to create a high-quality educational experience for young nuns. In 2016 Fionnuala started a Tergar group in Boudha, Kathmandu, with friends, and she is now starting groups at home in Ireland.
Fionnuala lives in Mountshannon on the banks of Lough Derg and enjoys swimming, kayaking, and growing vegetables in the community garden.
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 continues to play a key role in the training and mentoring of Tergar group leaders throughout Europe.
Stephanie Wagner is a board-certified health and well-being coach (NBC-HWC) with a Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota in Integrative Health and Well-being Coaching. She also holds a Master of Music in flute performance from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.
A meditator for twenty years, Stephanie has studied with some of the world’s most renowned Buddhist teachers including Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Sharon Salzberg, and Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. She met Mingyur Rinpoche in 2009 and immediately felt a sense of connection to Rinpoche’s message that anything in daily life can be used as an opportunity to wake up to our innate basic goodness.
Stephanie’s roles at Tergar include her work as a facilitator, a course guide for the Meditation Teacher Program, and an umdze (chant leader) for the Path of Liberation programs. In addition to her work at Tergar, she is the lead trainer for a nonprofit founded by renowned neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson called Healthy Minds Innovations. She is also on the teaching faculty at the University of Minnesota in the Integrative Health and Well-being Coaching program.