Local Sangha Leaders
David Rumsey started his Buddhist practice in 1988 at a retreat at Suan Mokh forest monastery in Thailand, under the direction of Ajahn Buddhasa and Santikaro Bhikku. He also spent roughly 15 years as a dedicated Soto Zen student under Steve Hagen, best-selling author of Buddhism Plain and Simple, at the Dharma Field Zen Centre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After moving to Salt Spring Island in 2004, David ultimately reconnected with Theravadan Buddhism and the Thai Forest tradition through Heather Martin, who has been is his principal teacher since then. He helps to host the weekly dharma talks and managing meditation retreats with Heather. David continues an intensive meditation practice at Spirit Rock, Forest Refuge, IMS and several other retreat centres.
His deep practice has increasingly pointed David toward an ecumenical approach to Buddhism that highlights the underlying truth of the Dhamma in a variety of religious and spiritual traditions. He is grateful to be able to share his insights from his practice both on and off the meditation cushion.
Christine Mauro fell in love with the Dhamma on her first retreat at Spirit Rock in 2004. Two years before, she had retired from her job as a litigation lawyer in Toronto, Ontario and moved with her husband, Derek, and then 11 year old daughter, Sarah, to Salt Spring.
Not having a paying job (her daughter described her as a “professional volunteer”) meant she had the time and space to pursue her new found Dhamma passion with enthusiasm — attending a number of retreats every year, including, most years, one of at least a month’s duration. In 2009 she completed Spirit Rock’s two year Dedicated Practitioners Program and in 2018, Birken Monastery’s two year Upasika program. In January 2021 she graduated from the inaugural two year Dharmapala training program created and led by ex- monastics, Thanissara and Kittisaro.
While the first five years of Christine’s dharma journey were based at lay centres, in more recent years much of her retreat practice has taken place at monasteries. These have included, Wat Metta (California), Tisarana (Ontario), Chithurst & Amaravati (England) and Birken (BC).
Christine is deeply grateful to Heather Martin who introduced her to the Dhamma and to Guy Armstrong and Phillip Moffitt, who mentored her through her first ten years of practice. Since then, her principal teachers have been Ajahn Sucitto, for whose spiritual guidance and friendship she is profoundly grateful, and Rob Burbea whose wisdom and creative embrace of the Dharma has deeply influenced her.