Teacher Community

Insight Santa Cruz Teacher and Facilitator Definitions

Teachers and facilitators must provide guidance with wisdom and compassion. They must embody wisdom, humility, discernment, thoughtfulness, loving-kindness, compassion, and be a skillful and empathic communicator.  All teachers and facilitators must follow the Teacher Code of Ethics — the Five Precepts. 


The Guiding Teacher is the spiritual leader of the center and an elder in Dhamma. The Guiding Teacher has multiple years of practice, retreats, and instruction and has received “transmission” from Senior Buddhist teacher(s) and is able to offer transmission to others.

  • The Guiding Teacher has extensive personal retreat experience, can teach retreats, and train new retreat teachers. They also teach classes, sittings, and daylongs.
  • The Guiding Teacher is responsible for teaching and coordinating mentorship programs and mentoring (or assigning) teacher mentors. This is a tradition of Buddhism where those who have been given transmission as a Dhamma teacher by their teachers can give transmission to new teachers.
  • The Guiding Teacher will be responsible for all programming at Insight Santa Cruz, making certain programs remain congruent with Insight Santa Cruz’s Dhamma vision. The Insight Santa Cruz mission statement will serve as a guideline for all programming.
  • The Guiding Teacher will be connected in a collegial way with the Spirit Rock teachers and other Buddhist teachers and communities.

A Teacher has received transmission from an elder Dhamma teacher and is now able to offer transmission to others.

  • A teacher can teach retreats, classes, sittings, and daylongs.
  • Teachers are responsible for training and mentoring assigned community teachers and facilitators.
  • Teachers have extensive retreat experience. They continue to develop experience through attending retreats and receiving periodic training and mentoring from a Guiding Teacher and other senior teachers.

A Community Teacher has completed the Community Dhamma Leader (CDL) or equivalent training determined by the Guiding Teacher.

  • A community teacher may offer meditation instructions, Dhamma talks, classes, and daylongs related to their unique expertise and experience.
  • At the discretion of the Guiding Teacher, they may teach weekend retreats.
  • They may also assist in retreats when invited by the Guiding Teacher.
  • Community teachers are committed meditation practitioners who have practiced at least 10 years and attended at least 49 nights of Vipassana or Metta retreats approved by the Guiding Teacher.
  • They continue their development by regularly attending meditation retreats and receiving ongoing training and mentoring from the Guiding Teacher and other teachers.

A Community Facilitator has completed one of the following: Dhamma Facilitator Training, Dhamma Mentoring Program, Dedicated Practitioner Program, or an equivalent determined by the Guiding Teacher.

  • A community facilitator may offer meditation instructions, Dhamma talks, classes, and half-daylongs at Insight Santa Cruz related to their unique expertise and experience.
  • They may also assist in retreats when invited by the Guiding Teacher.
  • They are committed meditation practitioners who have practiced at least 5 years and attended at least 24 nights of Vipassana or Metta retreats or approved by the Guiding Teacher.
  • They regularly attend retreats and receive ongoing training and mentoring from the Guiding Teacher and other teachers.

A Sit Leader is a student who has practiced at Insight Santa Cruz for over a year and a half and can lead meditation sits. A sit leader:

  • Offers basic meditation instruction to newcomers and can end with Metta
  • Offer a short inspirational reading during a sit.
  • Cannot offer Dhamma talks. All practice questions should be asked of a teacher or facilitator.
  • Should attend at least one sit leader meeting a year.
  • Are encouraged to attend retreats and classes to broaden their experience.
  • Cannot receive dana.

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