Caroline Pfohl is the prime lineage holder in the Dharma Ocean lineage and Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, along with Reggie Ray. She also holds the role of Desung (Protector of Joy) for the community, and has been named Reggie’s spiritual successor.
Caroline received an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an MSC in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and an AB from Wellesley College. She has worked in philanthropy, leading two private foundations, and in strategic planning for multinational corporations as well as non-governmental organizations. Since her college years she has also been an exhibiting photographer.
In addition to Dharma Ocean, Caroline also currently leads the Hemera Foundation, dedicated to supporting contemplative views and practices and their integration into ordinary life. It focuses on dharma and secular education, children, and the arts.
Brought up in a contemplative Catholic family that traveled the world, Caroline deepened her early interest in spirituality by gaining an experiential understanding of a number of wisdom traditions. In particular, she lived and traveled extensively in Asia, learning Mandarin and Cantonese, discovering her first meditation retreats as a teenager in Singapore, and practicing with a number of Daoist and Qi Gong masters. Later she studied Integrated Manual Therapy, a method of integrated mind-body healing, and a natural complement to her Daoist training.
Caroline first discovered Reggie’s work in early 2006, and it resonated deeply with her own practice of grounding spirituality within somatic awareness. She traveled to Crestone from Hong Kong to attend Meditating with the Body and immediately felt that she had found her true lineage. In her enthusiasm, she encouraged Reggie to offer the Dharma Ocean teachings more broadly. She helped set in motion the construction of the Blazing Mountain Retreat Center in Crestone, arranged Reggie’s first major teaching tour, and planned tours throughout North America over the next two years. During this time, she attended numerous programs in Crestone and undertook regular solitary retreats. In the summer of 2007, she attended VTI and became a Vajrayana student.
In 2007, Reggie asked Caroline to join him in leading the Dharma Ocean lineage. She accepted, and from that point onward the leadership of Dharma Ocean became a partnership. For the past decade, Caroline has offered herself to Dharma Ocean in many ways, seen and unseen. She has worked with Reggie in developing new bodies of teaching and practice—further developments of the basic somatic work, the corpus of bodhicitta teachings and practices, the path of relationality, consort practice, and others. In her role as community Desung she has cared for the healing, health, and well-being of the community. She has also brought her eye to the design and arrangement of Dharma Ocean’s spaces, and to their communications with the world.
On Saturday, August 12, 2017, on the tenth anniversary of Reggie asking Caroline to lead this lineage with him, he empowered her as the prime lineage holder and his successor.