Lopön is a Tibetan word that means ‘teacher’ (acarya in Sanskrit). The lopöns of Mindrolling Lotus Garden have been appointed by Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche to teach the dharma and offer practice and study guidance to the sangha. They also lead programs, scheduled throughout the year, during which they guide study and review of teachings and practices given by Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. Each year the lopöns kindly travel to give teachings and meet with the various study groups in the US. They are now traveling regularly to Chicago to lead programs and help establish the new Ösel Ling center.
The drupön (retreat master), also appointed by Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, is responsible for teaching and guiding those practitioners who undertake retreats at Lotus Garden.
Lopön Helen Berliner
Lopön Helen Berliner has been a student of Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche since 1994. From 1970-87, she was a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition; and has been fortunate to receive teachings and empowerments from masters of the four great lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. Earlier training in wisdom traditions, East and West, provided the foundation for her path. Ever grateful for the celebration of dharma in the western world, she has worked as editor and/or indexer of books by authors including Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Ane Pema Chödren, and others. Lopön Helen has degrees in fine arts and psychology, a master’s in Buddhist Studies specializing in environmental psychology, and is the author of Enlightened by Design. As a teacher of Buddhism and contemplative disciplines for over forty years, she delights in sharing the magic, challenges, and ubiquitous potential of the path of practice.
Lopön Jann Jackson
Jann Jackson has been a student of Her Eminence Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche since 1994. From 1975-1987 she studied with the Vidyadhara, Trungpa Rinpoche. She has also been blessed by receiving teachings and transmissions from H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.H the XVI and XVII Karmapa, H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and H.E. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, and the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She has been a meditation instructor since 1978 and has taught Buddhist study/practice programs in many East Coast dharma centers. Other studies include a Masters in Psychology. She served as the Associate Director for the House of Ruth, a nationally acclaimed domestic violence program in Maryland for 14 years, then as the Executive Director of Advocates for Children and Youth, a statewide child advocacy organization for 11 years. Currently she is a Senior Fellow at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, serving the needs of disadvantaged families nationwide.
Lopön Andre Papantonio
Andre Papantonio began studying and practicing the Buddhadharma in 1980 at the Baltimore Shambhala Center, and studied with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche at the 1984 Vajradhatu Seminary. He met Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche in 1994 and has studied and practiced under her guidance since then. Lopön Andre has been honored with the opportunity to serve Rinpoche in various capacities, including helping to guide the newest students as they enter the path of Mahayana at Lotus Garden and in the Baltimore Study Group. Andre teaches several weekends each year at Lotus Garden, and travels occasionally to teach in other cities. He is particularly interested in bringing Mahamudra and bodhicitta practices to life in the hearts of students and in his own heart. As his own small understanding of our fundamental Buddha Nature grows, he is especially eager to encourage students to discover, and rest in, their own natural state.
Lopön Andre welcomes questions by e-mail throughout the year. Please write to:
Lopön Barbara Ryan
Lopön Barbara Ryan has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1980 when she began studying in the Shambhala tradition with the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Since 1996, she has studied with Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. She has also received teachings and transmissions from H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.E. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, H.H. the Sakya Trizen, Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche, H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and Kyabje Trulshig Rinpoche. Within her studies of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Lopön Barbara has completed many short and long term retreats. She has served her sangha as a meditation instructor since the late 1980’s and began more actively teaching Buddhist students in 2003. She has a keen interest in helping students with the transition from mahayana to vajrayana and with their understanding of devotion and the outer and inner tantras. Lopön Ryan is a member of the board of Mindrolling International. She has been a resident of Samten Tse Retreat Centre in India since 2000 and a resident of Lotus Garden Retreat Center since 2003. She currently resides for 6 months a year at each center. She is the Coordinator of the Office of Practice and Study (OPS) for North America and has been actively involved in the establishment of Mindrol Ösel Ling
Drupön Roar Vestre
Drupön Roar Vestre has been a student of Her Eminence Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche since 1994. His other primary teachers have been Kalu Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. Drupön Roar has received teachings and empowerments from many of the main teachers of all the four main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and completed a three-year retreat from 1980 to 1983 under the guidance of the late Venerable Kalu Rinpoche. Since 1984 he has also served as a teacher at Karma Tashi Ling, Oslo, Norway. Lama Roar became the Drupön (Retreat Master) of Lotus Garden in 2005.
Remembering Lopön Rita Gross
Rita Gross, scholar-practitioner, was internationally known for her innovative thinking about Buddhism and gender, as well as Buddhist approaches to other contemporary issues. She began to study Buddhism in 1965 as a graduate student. Early in her career as a professor, in 1973, she decided to become a Buddhist practitioner in the Shambhala tradition. Throughout her long career, she continued to bring together academic and dharmic perspectives in her work as a professor, author, and dharma student and teacher. She was the author of many books and articles, the most influential of which is Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism. Her most recent book is A Garland of Feminist Reflections: Forty Years of Religious Exploration. She taught widely in the Shambhala mandala, including teaching a course on “Buddhist View” at the 1999 seminary. In 2005, she was appointed as lopön by Her Eminence Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. Lopön Rita taught a multi-year course “Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners” at the Lotus Garden shedra. She held a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in the History of Religions and for many years she was Professor of Comparative Studies in Religion at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire.
Lopon Rita passed away in November 2015 following a series of strokes. She will be deeply missed by all who had the good fortune to know her.
Last updated: 1 December 2015