Catherine Rathbun Jetsun Yeshe


A householder, a mother, a wife. a teacher, a friend….

She has a background as a dancer and was a member of the National Ballet Company of Canada in the early 1960's. Due to a dance related injury Catherine left the ballet world. She attended Trinity College in the University of Toronto where she graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Philosophy and Religious Knowledge.

From 1966 to 1969 she lived and worked on the European Continent and in London England, where she trained in Modern Dance and performed in multi-media theatre at the end of the 1960’s. Founding the Nottinghill Arts and Community Centre, she taught low income children dance and street theatre. Since that time she has taught dance in New Zealand and Canada (including at the University of Western Ontario) and now frequently incorporates creative movement into her meditation teaching as well as yoga.

Her formal meditation training began in 1969. During this time she took initiation and teaching from the very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche and the Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche. Having sold or given away all her belongings in 1972, she and her husband traveled with their two babies first to Morocco to do intensive training with Namgyal Rinpoche, then to India to take teaching from  His Holiness Sakya Trinzin and His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche. She completed her Nongdro (Tibetan foundation study) practices in 1973 and was given permission and encouragement to teach in 1976.

Residing in New Zealand from 1973 to 1979, she continued to study, attend retreats and teach, helping to establish 2 retreat centres there. During this time she traveled to Sikkim where she received initiation and teachings from His Holiness XVI Karmapa in 1979 during a 3 month period of retreat. Then she returned to Canada later that year. Her principal residence since that time has been Canada.

In Toronto, she founded Friends of the Heart, and spent 27 years there living and working as a lay teacher while raising three children. In addition to Buddhist practices, she studies and teaches Christian, Sufi and Western Mystery practices, incorporating ideas into her classes that will help the Western practitioner build bridges between East and West. For 7 years she taught courses at Vanier College in York University on these subjects. She has students in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and the U.S. and has trained a number of students who are now teaching in Canada, Australia, Thailand and Japan. At present she is teaching a Meditation Facilitator Certificate programme coordinated with Friends of the Heart and seeing people on a one to one basis.

In recognition of her contribution, in 2001, she was given the title of Jetsun (highly realized being) by Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche, who is a Choje Lama. He is the 4th throne holder in the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, which is His Holiness XVII Karmapa’s main monastery outside of Tibet. He is also a master of the Karma Kargyu and Sakya Lineages.

She is the author of several booklets and 2 books: Developing The World Mind,and Clear Heart, Open Mind as well as tapes and CDs.  She is working on a third book Waiting for Truffles: Meditations for Daily Living  as well as a book of poetry. 

David Liang


David was introduced to Zen Meditation and Taoist philosophy,  in 1997 when he began his graduate studies at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, California. After returning to Toronto, he continued his personal interest in Eastern philosophy by centering his studies on Tibetan Buddhist teachings.  In 2002, he realized that he required the guidance of a teacher in order to make progress in his practice. It was at this time that he joined Friends of the Heart and met Catherine Jetsun-Yeshe.  Through her support and teachings he has expanded his Buddhist studies into the practices of the Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.  He began teaching at Friends of the Heart in 2007.  

David is a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) and Registered Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner (R.TCMP.) who combines his knowledge of meditation, mindfulness practice and emotional awareness into his treatments.  Find out more at 

He received his Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, in San Diego, after having received a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Physiology, from the University of Toronto. 

David is a member of the  Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada (CMAAC) and is registered with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario.

Marlene Puffer


Marlene began practicing yoga at the age of 10, and she has explored many different styles. She has completed Level 1 yoga teacher training with Hart Lazer and Donna Read at United Yoga Montreal. Her approach to yoga  is mindful, with sensitivity to alignment and the movements of energy. A dedicated meditator, she began her Buddhist studies when she joined Friends of the Heart in 2003. She has completed many workshops and retreats with FOH founder Catherine Jetsun Yeshe and has served on the Board of FOH. Marlene has a Ph.D. in finance and her career has ranged from university professor to global investment strategist. As a mother of three, her feet are well planted in the real world and she deeply understands the need for emotional and spiritual balance.