Alan Lewis 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 a computer business and also a website www.zenmoments.org with his partner Vanessa.
Diana St Ruth
Diana St Ruth has been a practising Buddhist since the early 1960s, mainly in the Theravada and Zen traditions. She has been a partner of the Buddhist Publishing Group since its inception in 1983, lived in Sharpham North Buddhist Community from 1989 to 1993, and is the editor of Buddhism Now, a paper-based magazine which ran for 18 years and since 2006 has become web-based. She has written and edited a number of books on Buddhism.
Gavin Kilty spent 14 years in India studying Buddhism with Tibetan teachers. Eight of these years were spent at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics Studies in Dharamsala set up by HH the Dalai Lama, where he completed the major part of the Tibetan monastic curriculum in the medium of the Tibetan language. He now works full time as a Tibetan-to-English translator of Tibetan texts.
Jenny Wilks has practised in various Buddhist traditions since 1988, focusing in recent years on Insight Meditation (vipassana). She also has an MA in Indian religions and has studied Pali, the language of the ancient Buddhist texts. She has assisted on Dharma gatherings in France and India, and has taught at the Barn since 2004 and at Gaia House since 2008. Jenny is a clinical psychologist and has trained in mindfulness-based therapies which she has taught to staff and patients in healthcare settings. She currently works as an Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapist based at Exeter University.
Ken Streat travelled to India in 1976 and spent the next seven years travelling, meditating, and meeting with spiritual teachers. His background in Vipassana was with SN Goenka and other teachers in the U Ba Khin tradition in both India and Burma. Along with the Buddha he has been inspired by the more contemporary voices of J Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi. Ken came to Devon to be a manager at Gaia House in 1985. He has lived locally since then and was a Gaia House trustee until 2005. Ken is married with two grown-up children. He works on the Sharpham Estate as a furniture maker.
Kirsten Kratz has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. In 2006 she was invited to teach and since 2008 teaches group retreats in Gaia House where she also supports those on personal retreat. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement: DANCE and facilitates retreats with SanghaSeva combining Dharma practice and Service.
Mahesi Caplan was a Theravadin Buddhist monk for 15 years and trained in the Thai Forest tradition under Ajahn Sumedho.
Mark Øvland discovered meditation in his mid-twenties and has been devoted to it ever since. After spending a year living as a monk of the Ramakrishna Order in India, he served as coordinator at the Barn and then Gaia House.
Mark has a passion to serve the incarcerated and is working hard to make mindfulness available to the tens of thousands of people living behind bars in the UK. Outside of prison work he teaches in schools, universities and the workplace.
Stephen’s interest in Buddhist thought and practice has been influenced by the Theravadan tradition, studying the Pali Canon and regular retreats at Gaia House and Sharpham.
Stephen particularly values practising with others. In pursuit of this, he facilitates a meditation and discussion group in his local area, a local study group for Continuing Dharma Practice Programme participants and a local sangha network.
Stephen teaches an 'Introduction to Buddhist Meditation' at the Barn.
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.