Our Teachers

The Totnes Meditation Group is lucky to have support and regular input from teachers with a wealth of experience in teaching meditation and Buddhist philosophy. These include:

Alan Lewis

Alan has been engaging in spiritual inquiry and meditation practice since the 1970s. He spent 17 years as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and disrobed in December 2000. He now runs an IT business in Devon with his wife Vanessa, with whom he built and maintains the Gaia House website and with whom he runs the Zen Moments website.

Ramiro Ortega

Ramiro studied philosophy and has practised insight meditation since 2005. Interested in the philosophical wisdom of the West and the ancient practice of Buddhist meditation, Ramiro combines these two approaches to help people live a happier, more compassionate and wiser life. Ramiro leads 8-week mindfulness courses for the public and teaches introduction to Buddhist meditation at the Barn retreat centre.

Gavin Milne

Gavin has been practising Insight Meditation since 2004, including extended periods of retreat in Asia and the USA. He is currently training to be a Dharma Teacher under the guidance of Yanai Postelnik, and is particularly interested in exploring practice wherever we find ourselves – everything from family life to responding to the wider issues of our era.

Laura Bridgman (Kovida)

Laura ordained with Ajahn Sumedho and practised within the monastic setting for eighteen years until moving out to live as a solitary nun. In 2015 she left the monastic tradition in order to continue her Vipassana practice in lay life and pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) spiritual path.

Peter Mallard

Peter’s meditation practice started in 1972 with transcendental meditation. Later he became involved with a path called Sant Mat using another form of mantra based meditation. Peter’s introduction to Buddhism was with a Tibetan group however after finding himself uncomfortable with some of the doctrine and reading Stephen Batchelor’s ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’ he was drawn to the Insight tradition at Gaia House and Sharpham.

Mark Ovland

Mark is training to teach in the Insight Meditation tradition under Rob Burbea, with whom he has studied and practised since 2010. He is socially and environmentally engaged, and in 2013 co-created the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE) . Mark is also a founding trustee of Freely Given Retreats , a small charity that offers weeklong silent retreats without charge, and has previously worked to bring mindfulness and meditation more fully into the prison system.

Mark will be exploring the ‘Ways of Looking’ paradigm as set out in Rob Burbea’s book Seeing That Frees. This is a novel and refreshingly spacious approach to the Dharma that reframes all that we’re doing on the path and in practice. It takes as its basis the core insight that our perception of anything is dependent on our way of relating to that thing, in the moment, and follows this thread as far as it will go, on its way opening up new and interesting ways to view the self, the world, liberation, and daily life.

Visit our Calendar page to see who is teaching when.

We also occasionally enjoy visits from other guest teachers. These have included Christina Feldman, Stephen Batchelor, Christopher Titmus, Rob Preece, The Ven Suvaco, Jake Lyne, and The Rev Master Myfanwy. These teachers come from many different traditions of Buddhism and meditation, including the Insight, Zen, Chan, Theravada, Thai Forest and Tibetan schools.