Mark Nunberg

Mark Nunberg began his meditation practice in 1982 and has been teaching meditation since 1990. He co-founded Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis in 1993 with his wife Wynn Fricke and continues to serve as the center’s Guiding Teacher. Mark has studied with both Asian and Western teachers and finds deep inspiration in the teachings of the Buddha. Mark and other leaders at Common Ground Meditation Center have begun the development of a new Retreat Property on 46 acres of rolling fields and woods in Western Wisconsin. Mark has been leading residential Vipassana retreats in Minnesota and more recently at Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts for over ten years. Mark continues to be a grateful student of Buddhist practice.

Ted O’Toole

Ted O’Toole was one of the founding members of the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center. He was ordained as a priest by Tim Burkett at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in 2005, and received dharma transmission in 2012. Ted is currently the Assistant Guiding Teacher at MZMC and will become Co-Guiding Teacher with Tim on January 1, 2019. Ted and his wife Kathy Guthrie live in St. Paul. Family life and sharing the dharma are his greatest joys.

Merra Young

Merra has been practicing meditation since 1976. She serves as a Community Dharma leader, teaching and practicing in the Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. She is a psychotherapist in private practice and at The Center for Grief, Loss and Transition . Merra is also an adjunct faculty at several local universities in the Twin Cities teaching courses in Mindfulness meditation and Integrative psychotherapy/Buddhist psychology.

Sosan Flynn

Sosan is the Guiding Teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center. She began practicing Zen in 1992, and received dharma transmission (full teaching authority) in the Soto Zen Buddhist lineage in 2012. For the past 19 years, Sosan has taught classes on Zen Buddhist principles, ethical guidelines, meditation practices and council practice. She has officiated at many ceremonies (daily & special liturgies, wedding, baby naming, and memorial services), and does premarital and couples counseling. Sosan was raised Catholic and practiced Catholicism for 36 years before embracing Buddhism as her primary religion. She has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and has worked in both community mental health and staff training.

Justin Merritt

Justin Merritt is a Theravadan Buddhist and student of Bhante Sathi. The focus of his practice and study is early Buddhism and the earliest suttas. Visit his Buddhism blog here. Listen to the Simple|Suttas podcast here.

As a composer he was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation/Rudolph Nissim Award. He is also the winner of a host of other awards including the 2011-12 McKnight Fellowship, the Copland Award, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Prize, and the Polyphonos Prize. His music has been played by the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, and on A Prairie Home Companion. He is professor of music at St. Olaf College.

His evening length oratorio, The Path, will be premiered at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis April 22, 2018. The work is a setting of a collection of Buddhist Pali scriptures translated by the composer and set for multiple choirs, soloists, and large orchestra.

Roger Jackson

Roger Jackson is professor emeritus of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College, where he taught for nearly thirty years. He is a scholar of South Asian and Tibetan Buddhism, with a special interest in both traditional and modern philosophy, poetry, and contemplative systems. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Is Enlightenment Possible?, Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Theology, and Tantric Treasures, as well as many articles and reviews. He he has been a practitioner of Buddhism since 1974, primarily but not solely in the Tibetan tradition. He is a founding member of the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center.

Drew Weis

Drew Weis has wandered with water and contemplative practices since his youth. Influenced by Christianity, Daoism, and Buddhism as well as existential and Jungian psychology and the transformative power of partnering and parenting, Drew has found that coursing through all his life has been a deep sense of connection to water and its way.

Myo-O Marilyn Habermas Scher

Rev. Myo-O Marilyn Habermas-Scher is an ordained priest and senior practitioner in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition, teaching classes, lecturing and leading retreats. Her root teacher was Dainin Katagiri roshi, the first Japanese Zen teacher in Minnesota, with whom she studied from 1975 to 1990. She received Dharma Transmission from Rev. Dokai Ron Georgesen at Hokyoji Zen Community in 2012. She has been practicing in the Soto Zen and Vipassana Buddhist traditions for 42 years. Myo-O has an extensive background in the performing arts and is also trained in a a number of body-mind practices, including T’ai Chi, Qi Gong and Body Mind Centering. She teaches somatically based VoiceWork in private sessions and she also works as an inter-faith chaplain at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Health. She is the guiding teacher for Dharma Dance Sangha in Minneapolis.


Santikaro went to Thailand with the Peace Corps in 1980, was ordained as a Theravada monk in 1985, and subsequently trained at Suan Mokkh with Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a leading Thai teacher, scholar, and reformer of Theravada Buddhism. He became Ajahn Buddhadasa’s primary English translator and was abbot of nearby Suan Atammayatarama. He is a founding member of Think Sangha, a community of socially engaged Buddhist thinker-activists that has given special attention to the ethical and spiritual impact of consumerism and militarism. He led meditation retreats at Suan Mokkh for many years before returning to the USA’s Midwest in 2001. In 2004 he retired from formal monastic life. He continues to teach in the Buddhist tradition with an emphasis on the early Pali sources. He is the founder of Liberation Park, a modern American expression of Buddhist practice, study, and social responsibility. There he continues to teach, study, practice, translate the work of his teacher, engage in social activism, and imagine the future of Buddha-Dhamma in the West.

Sam Johnson

In Sam’s own words:

I have been a Methodist minister, college professor and administrator, poet, signal gandy, and childcare worker. Currently retired and Northfield resident for 3 years.
I first took refuge vows in the Tibetan tradition with Tana Tulku Rinpoche in the early 1990’s and was given the name Karma Tsering. Currently I am trying to find the balance between my Buddhist and Quaker practices.

Terri Kari

Over the past 25+years Terri Karis has been studying Buddhism, racial identities and whiteness. She is a white mother of black sons, and a professor of couple and family therapy.

Ken Ford

Ken found his way into Zen practice slowly, beginning with “academic” exploration in his college years, then his first contacts with Dainin Katagiri roshi in Minneapolis in 1976. He studied at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and Hokyoji with Katagiri roshi and, later, Shohaku Okumura. He has studied at Tassajara monastery and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California, and at Clouds in Water where he has been an active member since 1999. Retired from a career as a city planner, Ken is a lay teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center. He does volunteer work for Nonviolent Peaceforce and participates in interfaith dialogue in the local community.

Shodo Spring

Shodo Spring is the founder of Mountains and Waters Alliance, dedicated to working together with all beings to protect and restore the earth. She is also a Zen priest, Dharma heir of Shohaku Okumura Roshi, mother and grandmother, leader of the 2013 Compassionate Earth Walk, and author of Take Up Your Life: Making Spirituality Work in the Real World (Tuttle 1996).

Doug McGill

Doug McGill is a journalist and author, founded the Rochester Meditation Center in 2004 and is its primary meditation and dharma teacher.

Fred Howe

Fred Howe has studied philosophy and religion at the U of Calgary and McMaster U in Canada, and is a long time member of NBMC. For the past 5 years, he has been a volunteer for meditation groups that meet at correctional facilities in Faribault and Moose Lake.

Ajahn Chandako

Originally from Minneapolis, Ajahn Chandako was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1990 in the Thai Forest Tradition in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. After practicing intensive meditation in various monasteries in Thailand and traveling extensively in Tibet, Nepal, and India, he settled at Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand, the monastery established by Ajahn Chah for his English-speaking disciples. He translated many of the teachings into English and is also the author of ‘A Honed and Heavy Ax: Samatha and Vipassana in Harmony.’ In recent years, he has taught internationally, and is now the abbot of Vimutti Forest Monastery, near Auckland, New Zealand.

Ajahn Punnadhammo

Ajahn Punnadhammo has been studying and practicing Buddhism since 1979 and was ordained in Thailand in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah (novice ordination Feb. 1991, higher ordination Feb. 1992). Between 1990 and 1995 he was based at Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand. Punnadhammo is a Canadian, born Michael Dominskyj in Toronto in 1955. He began studying the Dhamma under Kema Ananda, the founder and first teacher at the Arrow River Center.