our teachers

Gen Kelsang Demo 3

Gen Kelsang Demo (Resident teacher – Amitabha Centre)

Gen Demo has studied, practised and taught Kadampa Buddhism since its beginnings in New Zealand. In 2004, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso appointed her as full-time resident teacher and spiritual leader at the Amitabha Centre in Palmerston North.

With kindness and clarity Gen Demo makes Buddha's teachings accessible and relevant to our modern daily lives. She is an inspiring Buddhist practitioner who encourages us to integrate these teachings into our busy lives in practical and joyful ways.

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Kelsang Phunwang

Phunwang has studied at Amitabha Centre for many years and ordained in 2014. He is sincere and kind, and has a deep understanding of Dharma which he puts into practice in all aspects of his life. Phunwang takes care of the monthly programme of special prayers and pujas at the centre, supports the teaching programme in Levin on a regular basis, as well as stepping in as teacher where and when he is needed.

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Birgit Saunders – Education Projects Co-ordinator

In addition to organising programming and events, Birgit teaches regular meditation classes at the Cancer Society, and is ready to step in and teach when other teachers are away. She moved to the Manawatu last year from Wellington where she was both Administration Director and an active teacher at the Bodh Gaya Buddhist Centre. She is encouraged by how practical and relevant Buddha's teachings are, and how easy they are to apply to our own lives. This enthusiasm comes across in her support for the centre's programme and in her own teaching.

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Eve Pleydell

Eve first met the NKT when she attended a Saturday morning meditation class with Kelsang Demo in the PN library in 2005. She then spent a year living in the Dorje Chang centre in South West London before returning to Palmerston North (and currently lives in Tokomaru). She loves the beauty, accessibility and completeness of Geshe-la's teachings and is passionate about the power of meditation to create peace within our minds. She is currently engaged in NKT teacher training with Kadam Neil from KMC London. She has "a patient and wise partner and two amazing sons".

In 2017, she will be teaching a special course (Introduction to Buddhism) and will be teaching the Foundation Programme while Demo is attending the international teacher training programme in June and July.

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Marion Taylor and Dale Pryme (Palmerston North Hospital)

Both Dale and Marion have been practising meditation and studying Buddhist teachings for many years, and have both appreciated the value of meditating as part of a supportive group - as Dale says: "I find that meditation practice flows more easily and personal momentum is better maintained when meditation with a group is part of the mix." Marion's professional experience in medicine gives her a special insight into how helpful meditation can be for those who are spending time in hospital (either as patients, staff or visitors); and both see the class as offering a gentle and calm 'space' in the week for members of the hospital community. 

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Liz Wilson

Liz says it best in her own words:

I had been meditating at home, on my own for a while, before I was lucky enough to join Demos’ classes in Waipukurau. I loved the classes and the group meditations and found that they gave me the inspiration that I needed to continue and develop my daily meditation practice at home.  

I live on a farm in Central Hawkes Bay with my wonderful husband and our four children. We have a busy life but I find that by practicing dharma I can manage the needs of the children, the farm, school board and community involvements with a calm and peaceful mind.

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Jan McPherson

Jan has been teaching the Levin class for some years now - albeit with a three-year break when she was working abroad. She loves the fact that dharma offers really practical ways of working towards becoming more peaceful and compassionate, no matter what our beliefs, background or current situation might be; and she appreciates and enjoys the chance to explore these ideas with the Levin group.