Luminous Mind Sangha’s mission is to foster awakening and its embodiment in worldly life, through the application of authentic, rigorous Buddhist and modern practices.

Tina Rasmussen, Ph.D.

Guiding Teacher

Tina’s warm style, bright clarity and supportive presence helps students recognize their deeper nature, both on the cushion and in daily life. She has a decades-long commitment to cultivating her own and others’ deep spiritual unfoldment while functioning in an embodied, worldly life.

Dr. Rasmussen learned to meditate in 1976, at age 13. In 2003, after many years of practice in Buddhist and modern non-dual traditions, she was drawn to undertake an intensive year-long solo retreat during which a profound awakening to Reality occurred. In 2004, Tina took refuge with Tibetan Dzogchen teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and was initiated into the Nyingma lineage. In 2005, Tina attended a 2-month retreat with Burmese meditation master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, who ordained her as a Buddhist nun and gave her the dharma name “Ayya Pesala.” During the retreat, Tina became the first Western woman to complete the entire detailed Samatha path in this lineage.

As an offering of gratitude to the dharma, Tina, along with Stephen Snyder, wrote the book, Practicing the Jhanas, which was later published by Shambhala Publications. In 2007, Tina became the first Western woman authorized by Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw to teach.

After these life-changing experiences, at first Tina felt a strong pull to become a “cave yogi” and turn away from householder life to abide in the peace of Truth. However, over time, the possibility functioning from realization while living in the dynamism of the modern world became a more compelling life’s path. Tina then began participating in the Diamond Approach, a contemporary wisdom path designed for householders, that integrates the psychological and the spiritual into one continuum for living “in the world but not of it.” Tina has been studied by Yale Neuroscience Lab for research on the effects of meditation on consciousness and the brain, has been featured in “Awakening Women,” Non-duality Magazine, Conscious TV, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Buddhist Geeks, GuruViking, After Awakening, the Imperfect Buddha, Rick Hanson’s Wednesday Meditation, and others.

Dr. Rasmussen now leads retreats and offers spiritual guidance and mentoring to practitioners worldwide. She has a Ph.D. in human and organizational development, and worked as an executive coach and consultant in the business world for more than 25 years. She is also the author of several published books on humanistic business practices.


Jennifer Wheeler

Special Projects Director

Jennifer Wheeler’s spiritual curiosity began in childhood and has had many manifestations. As a child, she was actively engaged in the Lutheran church. She discovered the wisdom of the East through the practice of Tae Kwan Do as a teenager, and hatha yoga as a college student. Intellectual engagement with the questions of existence dominated her young adult years, during which she found greatest solace in the natural world, a discovery that led her to incorporate nature as a key component of her spiritual life. She began formal practice in the Buddhist tradition in her early 40s. This eventually led to her ordination as a lay Dharma teacher, and then as a novice monastic in the Vietnamese Mahayana tradition. She also obtained a master’s degree in Buddhist Studies under the direction of Dr. Peter Harvey.

Jennifer first began practicing with Tina in 2008, and has completed many retreats as well as two year-long Awakening Dharma mentoring programs with Tina. She offered beginning samatha meditation instruction under Tina’s guidance, and founded and led an ongoing meditation group near her home in Connecticut. She is now a participant in Tina’s first Teacher Training program. Jennifer currently gravitates toward the non-dual aspect of the great spiritual traditions of the world, and to the Diamond Approach–a contemporary wisdom path.

Advisory Board

Guy Armstrong has been practicing Insight meditation for over 30 years, including training as a Buddhist monk in Thailand.with Ajahn Buddhadasa. He began teaching in 1984 and has led retreats worldwide. Guy is a Governing Teacher at Spirit Rock and a Guiding Teacher of Insight Meditation Society.
For more than 20 years, Nina Del Prado has held Human Resources Leadership roles in premier organizations, such as Genentech, Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., the Charles Schwab Corporation, and Sephora.com. As an External Consultant, she has effectively provided people expertise to both profit and non-profit organizations to enable them to meet business goals. Nina has had an ongoing meditation practice for many years.
Rick Hanson, PhD began meditating in 1974 and has practiced in several traditions. A neuropsychologist, writer, and teacher, he co-founded the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom (see www.WiseBrain.org) and edits the Wise Brain Bulletin. First author of Mother Nurture (Penguin, 2002), his latest book is Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom (with Rick Mendius, MD; Preface by Jack Kornfield, PhD and Foreword by Dan Siegel, MD). He started sitting at Spirit Rock in 1993 and recently completed a nine-year term on its Board.


We want to express our deepest thanks to the many volunteer organizers who have sponsored, organized and managed our events over the years. The events wouldn’t have happened without them, and we are grateful for their generosity in spreading the dharma.  We also want to express our sincere thanks to the volunteers who have edited, improved, listened to, transcribed, and generally improved our audios, videos, and transcripts on this website, as well as our Facebook page. The those media wouldn’t be available today without them, and we are grateful for their generosity in making those offerings presentable. Many thanks to our volunteers:

  • Jose Luis Poveda Alfaro
  • Simon Beck
  • Greg Davies
  • Bryan Duffy
  • Thomas Jedensjo 
  • June Kramer
  • Andrea Magoni
  • Tomislav Maric
  • Adam Murray
  • Gael SB
  • Andrea Serafino
  • Jennifer Wheeler
  • Virginia Williams