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Teachers and Teaching

Rob Burbea’s teachings are influencing Dharma in the west through the work of many teachers, enriching the spiritual landscape and the lives of practitioners. To support the transmission of his particular approaches to the Dharma, he named the teachers here as qualified to teach different aspects of these approaches (as defined in 'Rob's Documents' below). This list comprises the teacher trainees he formally graduated, and colleagues that he formally recognised.
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headshot of Catherine McGee

Catherine McGee

Catherine collaborated closely with Rob in developing and teaching A Soulmaking Dharma, from 2014 until his death. She continues to teach Soulmaking courses and retreats together with Yahel Avigur. Rob also asked her to play a key role in the qualifying and graduation of teachers.

You can find the annual online 'Foundations of A Soulmaking Dharma' course here:

headshot of Yahel Avigur

Yahel Avigur

Yahel qualified as an Insight Meditation, Ways of Looking, Jhāna, and Emptiness and Dependent Origination teacher, and also qualified in what Rob termed ‘Teaching Practice’. Rob entrusted Yahel to play an ongoing role in the qualification of teachers in his Dharma approaches. Yahel is in training as a Soulmaking Dharma teacher under the guidance of Catherine McGee.

You can find Yahel’s teaching activities here:

headshot of Kirsten Kratz

Kirsten Kratz

Kirsten was invited by Rob to join him in working with the personal retreatants in the Hermitage programme at Gaia House from 2014, which they did until his death. She supported his work in the writing of Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising.

You can contact Kirsten through Gaia House: or

headshot of Susy Keely

Susy Keely

Susy was qualified by Rob as an Insight Meditation and Ways of Looking teacher. Her study with Rob focused on emptiness practice, working with energy, and integrating insight & mystical experience into one’s life.

You can find Susy’s contact and teaching activities here:

headshot of Sari Markkanen

Sari Markkanen

Sari was qualified as an Insight Meditation* and Ways of Looking teacher by Rob. She also practiced Jhānas, emptiness and imaginal perspectives under his guidance, and assisted him on the Practising the Jhānas retreat.

*This teacher training qualification was given by Martine Batchelor, Caroline Jones and Rob.

You can contact Sari here:

headshot of Juha Penttila

Juha Penttilä

Juha was qualified as an Insight Meditation* and Ways of Looking teacher by Rob. He spent years exploring the 'ways of looking' and emptiness paradigms, as well as samādhi and Soulmaking perspectives under Rob's guidance, and continues to explore and cultivate these practices.

*This teacher training qualification was given by Martine Batchelor, Caroline Jones and Rob.

You can find Juha’s teaching activities here:

Please note: The presence of a particular qualification reflects that Rob knew and could endorse that person’s practice and skills thoroughly in this area. Absence of the specific qualification does not necessarily mean that a person does not have that capacity.

headshot of Yahel Avigur

Other Teachers

As well as the teachers who were formally recognised by Rob, other teachers in the Insight Meditation tradition have been inspired and influenced by Rob and his teachings through knowing him, practising with him, or through his talks and writing. Whether sharing his approaches directly, or in the way his influence informs their work, the gift of their Dharma teaching is also part of his legacy.

Rob's Documents

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Rob left several documents for the teachers and HAF about teacher training in his particular Dharma approaches. These contain instructions and guidance for carrying his work forward in this regard.

These documents were drafted in 2019 and finalised in 2020. Here we share the text in which Rob delineates and defines a number of ‘teaching tracks’, and a paragraph from an accompanying document in which Rob offers some further explanation.

Please note that these documents were not written for the wider public, and their content may not always be entirely explained or complete.

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Tracks for teacher training

Please note: Qualification in any training track does not depend solely on a teacher trainee having had certain meditative experiences, rather, it depends more on the trainee’s capabilities and skill in teaching others the material in that track – i.e., being able to responsively, wisely, and sensitively guide students in detail through the range of relevant practices, experiences, and understandings, and to teach them too how to navigate for themselves in and between the relevant practices etc.

Insight Meditation
Qualified to teach residential and non-residential retreats, classes, etc. at GH, IMS and FR, Beatenberg, Spirit Rock, and related IM centres and sanghas.
Note: Completion of this training track can be approved by any senior Insight Meditation teacher who has sufficient knowledge of the trainee’s training and experience etc. (A ‘senior Insight Meditation teacher’ is someone who has been qualified and teaching IM for a minimum of 10 years in centres such as the those listed above. So, after 10 years of teaching, a graduate might be in a position to train another teacher, if they were well placed to do so.)

Note from HAF: Susy Keely was unable to complete residential retreat teacher training before Rob’s death. Accordingly, he authorized her to teach Insight Meditation in all forms (including courses, online retreats and 1:1 teaching) except for residential retreats.

Ways of Looking (Insight Meditation) 
(Together with its related practices of samatha, the Brahma Viharas, mindfulness, generosity, etc., and including working with psychological and emotional difficulties and trauma) – actually, the whole of the Buddhadharma – in the way that it is comprehensively framed and conceived by Rob, i.e., in terms of ways of looking’ and ‘fabrication’, and also with a common emphasis on awareness and skill with the energy-emotional body.

Prerequisite training tracks: Insight Meditation teacher

Emptiness and Dependent Origination
As practised and explained in Seeing That Frees and in Rob’s talks and online seminars. This would require a thorough and intimate knowledge of all the practices in STF, as well as a deep understanding of emptiness and the Middle Way, and an ability to skilfully guide ready students in these practices and progressively unfolding understandings.

Prerequisite training tracks: Insight Meditation teacher, Ways of Looking (Insight Meditation).

Jhāna practice
Prerequisite training tracks: Insight Meditation teacher, Ways of Looking (Insight Meditation), Emptiness and Dependent Origination (?)

Teaching practice
(Usually one-to-one but also perhaps in groups) that includes and supports wider, deeper, and more subtle heart- and psychological-work. A more developed level of psychological, emotional, and energy-emotional body sensitivity, awareness, skills, intuition, and understanding, both personally and in relationship, i.e., with respect both to self and to other. (The understandings here will need to include some or other theories of psychology etc. but will need to surpass the only theoretical.)
Note: Qualification in this training track does not so much involve a body of material that one could teach students (e.g., the meditations from ‘Working with the Emotional Body’ series, etc.); rather, it indicates the development in the trainee of a range of intuitive capacities, sensitivities, and understandings regarding the emotions, energy body, and psychology of the student, which can inform the interactions with and guidance given to the student.
Note also: Psychotherapeutic trainings, or even full qualification as a psychotherapist, do not necessarily guarantee that this teacher training track is completed or approved.

Prerequisite training tracks: Insight Meditation teacher, Ways of Looking (Insight Meditation)

Soulmaking Dharma
Prerequisite training tracks:
Insight Meditation teacher, Ways of Looking (Insight Meditation), Teaching practice.

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Teacher qualifications

For the sake of clarity in the future, and particularly for any people looking to study with a teacher qualified in a certain Dharma area as I would conceive it, it would be good if HAF had a list on its website, listing teachers properly qualified, by me, Catherine, or by HAF, for any area of Dharma. At present those listed will be trainees of mine who have graduated in certain areas; in time, others may be added, as decided by HAF and Catherine. This list should be publically available and easily findable…

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