Guiding Teacher

Gareth Young

Gareth is a meditation teacher and co-founder of Red Clay Sangha. He has maintained a committed meditation practice for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana Traditions, and integrates over 10 years of interfaith engagement as well as teachings from other Buddhist traditions into his practice and life.

Gareth received dharma transmission in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Lisa Ernst. He lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and their dogs, chickens and bees. He has two adult children. 

You can contact Gareth by email if you would like to discuss Red Clay, your practice, or any other matter.

Visiting Teachers

A number of very special teachers from a diversity of Buddhist practice paths and traditions - several having practiced in multiple traditions - have become particularly close friends to the sangha. We are honored to count the following as friends and returning retreat leaders:


Lisa Ernst

Lisa is the founder and guiding teacher at One Dharma Nashville. She has been meditating for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana Traditions. She received dharma transmission in the Thai Forest Lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. As a practicing visual artist Lisa also incorporates Dharma into painting and contemplative photography.



Ven. Dhammadipa, also known as Rev. Konin, serves as Guiding Teacher of Ekan Zen Study Center, and resides and trains at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery, a women's Theravada monastery. She was previously ordained into the Soto Zen tradition by Sekkei Harada Roshi in 2007 and received Dharma Transmission in the Shunryu Suzuki lineage from Rev. Shosan Victoria Austin. Ven.'s teachings have appeared in the Buddhist magazines "Lion's Roar" and "Buddhadharma," and her teachings are published in "Zen Teachings in Challenging Times." She is an inter-faith chaplain who has provided spiritual care in hospital and hospice settings. Dhammadipa's teaching website can be found at

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts including police training and addiction recovery groups. He works with multifaith groups focused on intersectional liberation, racial justice, and climate justice. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, travels to teach across the United States, has written for Tricycle and Lion’s Roar magazines, and is author of Inside the Grass Hut, Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara, Vasubandhu's "Three Natures", and Mindfulness and Intimacy.

Therese Fitzgerald

Therese trained for eight years at the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Mountain Monastery and then with Thich Nhat Hanh for fifteen years. She was ordained as a Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1994 and has been teaching for twenty-five years. Originally from Charlotte, Therese now lives on the island of Maui, where she works as a Dharma teacher, and as a hospice Spiritual Care Counselor.


Julie Püttgen 

In 1995, Julie began her studies of Vipassana meditation with Steve & Rosemary Weissman, in the south of Thailand. She then lived and trained at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hahn's monastery in the south of France, before joining the Thai-tradition English Forest Sangha as a resident laywoman and novice nun for 3 years. Since then, her Buddhist training extended into Soto and Rinzai Zen schools, and the embodied Tibetan-tradition Mahamudra practices taught by Lama Willa MillerLama John MakranskyReggie Ray, and others. Julie is an artist, expressive arts and somatic psychotherapist, writer, mover, and arts facilitator living and practicing in New Hampshire. She is founder and facilitator of the Old Dragons’ Club, a non-sectarian women’s group in the Buddhist traditions; and Meditations for Resilience and Resistance, a modality she created to integrate expressive and contemplative arts. You can see her work at and

Shodo Spring

Shodo met Zen with Dainin Katagiri, studied with Tenshin Anderson, and received transmission under Shohaku Okumura. Her practice has included pilgrimage, environmental activism, ceremony, and especially zazen. She has two daughters and four grandchildren, earns her livelihood as a psychotherapist, and practices farming as spiritual life.  

Shodo is the author of Take Up Your Life: Making Spirituality Work in the Real World (Tuttle 1996), "Right Action: The World is My Body" in The Eightfold Path (Temple Ground Press 2016). Shodo is the founder of Mountains and Waters Alliance, humans joining with all beings to protect and restore the earth and all life. This includes zazen, teaching, a permaculture farm, land care, and being open to what arises next. 

In addition we have enjoyed retreats led by the following teachers:  

  • Brad Warner from the Angel City Zen Center. Brad Warner received dharma transmission from Gudo Wafu Nishijima
  • Zen Master Dae Gak from Furnace Mountain in Clay City, Kentucky. ZM Dae Gak received dharma transmission from the Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn
  • Sunya Kjolhede from Windhorse Zen Community. Sunya was ordained and sanctioned to teach by Roshi Philip Kapleau
  • Wayne Coger from Springwater Center. Wayne works with Toni Packer, and previously studied at the Rochester Zen Center
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