American Guru » Contributors


Since leaving Andrew Cohen’s community over ten years ago, Wendyl Smith has been involved in micro-enterprise development both in the United States and, for the last eight years, in Bali. Actively engaged in Buddhist and Taoist practices, she lives in a mountain village on the edge of an ancient caldera. Her life has brought her into daily communion with many creative, kind and generous people—an extraordinary merging of international and local cultures and innovation.

Karen Merigo moved to the United States from Italy in the late 1980s to live in Andrew Cohen’s community. She was a senior student from 1988 to 1996. Upon leaving, she decided to stay in California with her good friends. She now lives in San Francisco, working at an art school and learning to follow her bliss.

Susan Bridle was a student of Andrew Cohen from 1992 until 2003, and was an editor of his magazine, What is Enlightenment? (now known as EnlightenNext), during that time. She is now completing her Ph.D. at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies in the fields of international political economy, international relations, and political theory. She teaches at the University of Colorado at Denver, and has been practicing Zen Buddhism since 2002 under the guidance of Henry Danan, Roshi, at the Zen Center of Denver. She lives with her partner, Brian, in Lakewood, Colorado.

Richard Pitt spent eight years in the spiritual community of Andrew Cohen. Since leaving in 1995 he has lived in San Francisco, practicing homeopathic medicine and running a homeopathic school. In early 2009, he took a four-month sabbatical in India, mostly in Tiruvannamalai, home of the famous Indian saint Ramana Maharshi.

Mario Puljiz fled the violence of the Balkans where he was born, moving to the United Kingdom in 1991. There he pursued his interest in spiritual matters, which led him to Andrew Cohen in 1994. After joining Cohen’s community he met Caroline Franklyn, who, like him, left her homeland under life-threatening circumstances. Mario’s chapter is testimony to his affection and respect for his friend, who died in 1999. Mario left the community shortly afterwards in 2000, and has since been running a real estate business in London.

Luna Tarlo is the author of The Mother of God, a memoir about the three-and-a-half years she spent as a disciple of her son, Andrew Cohen. She has always been a writer and continues to write now. Her most recent publication is the novel Eilat, published by Rain Mountain Press.