Teachers & Guests

Teaching Faculty

Daniel Brown, Ph.D. Daniel Brown, Ph.D. Director, The Center for Integrative Psychotherapy, Newton MA; Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for 24 years. Author of 14 books including Transformations of Consciousness (with Ken Wilbur & Jack Engler), and a new book on Mahamudra,  Pointing Out the Great Way: The Mahamudra Tradition of Tibetan Meditation-Stages (Wisdom Publications), and two books on public dialogues with H.H. The Dalai Lama. In graduate school at The University of Chicago he studied Sanskrit with Hans van Beutenen, and also studied Tibetan, Buddhist Sanskrit, and Pali languages in the Buddhist Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison WI. He spent 10 years translating meditation texts for his doctoral dissertation on Tibetan Buddhist Mahamudra meditation. He has studied meditation practice for 38 years, beginning with reading Patanjali’s Yogasutras and its main commentaries in the original Sanskrit with the great historian of religion professor Mircea Eliade, as well as practicing Patanjali’s stages of meditation directly with Dr. Arwind Vasavada. At the same time, Dr. Brown studied the Burmese Theravadin Buddhist mindfulness meditation, first with Western teachers in the United States like Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Christopher Titmus, and then directly with the originator of the Burmese mindfulness tradition,  Mahasi Sayadaw in Rangoon, Burma and other masters like Tungpulo Sayadaw and Achaan Cha. Most of his 38 years of meditation experience has been squarely centered within the Indo-Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist tradition. He lived with his Tibetan root lama, the Venerable Geshe Wangyal summers between school for about a 10-year period. Geshe Wangyal, H.H. the Dalai Lama, and the Venerable Denmo Locho Rinpoche, former Head Abbott of Namgyal Monastery, the Dalai Lama’s monastery were the main students of senior teacher Ling Rinpoche in the Gelukpa lineage.  Dr. Brown first learned Indo-Tibetan concentration and insight meditation with Geshe Wangyal, and then years later co-taught concentration and insight meditation with Denmo Locho Rinpoche and Yeshe Tapkay at Geshe Wangyal’s retreat house over a 15-year period. Dr. Brown learned Mahamudra from numerous Tibetan lamas mainly in the Tilopa/Marpa tradition and its subsidiary traditions, such as the Dwags-po/Karma or ‘Seat’ lineage, the ‘Bri gung or ‘Five Parts’ lineage, and the Drug pa or ‘One Taste’ lineage, and also from the ecumenical Rime movement wherein Mahamudra and Gelukpa emptiness practices were integrated and Mahamudra and Great Completion practices were integrated. Dr. Brown spent 10 years translating meditation texts from Tibetan and Sanskrit, including translating Tashi Namgyal’s great commentary on the Mahamudra, Moon Beams, as well as translating most of the important Mahamudra meditation practice texts found in Jamgon Kongtrul’s great collection of meditation texts, The Treasury of Instructions. As a Western psychologist he spent 10 years translating conducting outcomes research on beginning and advanced meditators. He has taught meditation retreats for 20 years.

Susan Michel

Susan Mickel, M.D. Susan has been meditating for twenty years, first in the Christian tradition, then in the Burmese mindfulness tradition, and for seven years now in the Tibetan Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions. She learned Burmese mindfulness meditation from teachers at Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock, and other centers. In 2001 she got a certificate in ecumenically oriented Christian spiritual guidance from Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Daniel Brown has been her main teacher of Mahamudra. More recently she is also studying Mahamudra with Lama Palden Drolma and Dzogchen with Rahob Tulku, Thupten Kalsang Rinpoche. For twelve years she has been teaching retreats first in the Burmese mindfulness tradition, including some Christian-Buddhist retreats, and for the past six years in Indo-Tibetan Mahamudra. Her personal practice and orientation is Buddhist, and she is interested in interfaith discussion and exploration. Interested in the mind since she can remember, Susan's college major was comparative religions. She worked as a behavioral neurologist and ran a memory disorders clinic for 25 years at a large nonprofit multispecialty clinic. Six years ago she returned to school for a clinical psychology Ph.D. with the intention of learning psychotherapy and exploring her interest in the mind from a somewhat different perspective. This year she is completing an internship in clinical psychology at a VA Medical Center.  A current research interest is in the impact of adult attachment style on relationships, health, and happiness. In her future work she will continue work at the interfaces of neurology, psychology, and spirituality, with the guiding interest being in how one can influence people to help them decrease their suffering and increase happiness.

Gretchen Nelson, LPTGretchen Nelson, LPT, has been practicing yoga and meditation since 1986. She is an NCAA cross-country champion runner recently inducted into the University of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for her contribution to the 1983 team NCAA Division 1 championship. Gretchen is based in San Francisco and has been teaching Hatha yoga and meditation from various traditions since 1989. In 1997 she received her Masters in Science in Physical Therapy from UCSF Medical School. Gretchen integrates meditation and yoga in her physical therapy practice. She has10 years of in-patient hospital physical therapy experience. She served as an ergonomics consultant for United Parcel Service drivers. Her physical therapy work focuses on home visits for the elderly, with a focus on keeping elders healthy through home visits to prevent injury and illness that would otherwise lead to nursing home admissions. She has done volunteer work in Central America and San Francisco. Gretchen has taught over 20 week-long retreats with Daniel Brown since 2007 nationally and internationally. Gretchen’s current focus is on developing on-going relationships with students who have completed Dan Brown’s level 1 retreat to provide continuity of the teachings. She offers day-long/weekend courses in San Francisco and Boston and will consult hourly in person in San Francisco or by telephone for those living out of area. She is committed to living the practice off the meditation pillow and out of the classroom. For her yoga is not a sequence of postures and meditation is not sitting quietly but yoga and meditation are a way of living all the time.

George Protos, M.A.George Protos, M.A. has a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University, New Orleans, in history and classical languages, and a masters degree from UCLA in Byzantine history. He then studied law at the University of Virginia. George’s spiritual heritage is Greek Orthodox and he has a long-standing interest in the study of the early church fathers. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1975.  George has enjoyed a long career in human resource management in industries as diverse as high-tech manufacturing, to banking, to healthcare.  George is currently responsible for occupational medicine, human resources, and support services at a hospital in Sonoma County, California. George first studied the pointing-out style of meditation with Daniel Brown since the mid-1990s.  In 2003, he created an on-line user-group, Buddhas-in-Training, as a vehicle for supporting the practice of those who study with Daniel Brown.  The site offers people from around the world an opportunity to share information and experiences as they continue their practice.  He also leads week-long retreats and an on-going meditation study group that meets in Marin County, CA.


Senior Teacher

Rahob TulkuRahob Tulku, Thupten Kalsang Rinpoche. Geshe (teacher) degree from Drepung Monastary in Lhasa, and in Indian Buddhism and Sanskrit from Varanasi University in India. Rinpoche has spent over 70 years mastering and integrating meditation practices form different schools of Buddhist meditations including The Great Completion (dzogschen) and Gelugspa concentration and emptiness meditation in Tibet and India,  Theravadin mindfulness meditation in Thailand, and Shingon and Zen Buddhism is Japan. He has taught at Harvard Divinity School and Tufts University. He is the incarnate Tulku of Rahob Monastary in old Tibet and is head of the Rahob Dharma center in the Berkshires area of New York.