I N S I G H T N E W S L E T T E R SPRING SUMMER 2005
Spiritual Friendship: The Retreat Center 2005
Helping the Dharma Take Root in the Next Generation
The Forest Refuge 2005/06
An Interview with Michele McDonald
Teacher Interview IMS News and Developments BCBS 2005 Course Schedule Outline
…Admirable friends, admirable companions, admirable comrades. This is the first prerequisite for the development of the wings to self-awakening. – The Buddha Michele McDonald has practiced vipassana meditation since 1975, when she attended the last two weeks of the first three-month vipassana retreat taught in the U.S. Today, she is an IMS core faculty member, who has been teaching since 1982 and leading meditation retreats for youth since 1989. Michele has a deep interest in preserving the ancient teachings and finding ways to make them more accessible and authentic in our time, without compromising their essence. In conversation with Insight Newsletter, she explores one way in which the dharma is taking root in our culture – through the offering of teachings to young people.
Michele, what drew you to vipassana practice? When I was a child, I noticed that the adults in my life – both my parents and others around me – were suffering greatly. To get a break from the intensity of the unhappiness, I spent a lot of time alone at a lake near where I lived. I’d sit by the water under the trees, basically watching my breath and just
being in nature. I discovered that stillness and peace arose if I sat quietly for long enough. I grew to love the shift that occurred in my mind as I opened to the mystery of experiencing things directly, beyond thought. As a child, I didn’t have the strength of mind to deal with the sorrow that surrounded me. There was a painful gap between my experience of the (continued on page 2)
dharma in the natural world and my experience of deep suffering in ordinary human life. That suffering grew with me into my teens and twenties. I didn’t have any support for practice. I felt like I was waiting for something – the chance to undertake formal training. Then, when I was twenty-four, I sat my first meditation retreat. I knew immediately that this was what I had been waiting for. What inspires you to teach meditation?
A twice yearly publication of the Insight Meditation Society, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization whose purpose is to foster the practice of vipassana (insight) and metta (lovingkindness) meditation, and to preserve the essential Buddhist teachings of liberation. The goal of the practice is the awakening of wisdom and compassion through right action and cultivating mindful awareness in all aspects of life. Editor: Gyano Gibson Production: Éowyn Ahlstrom & Edwin Kelley Cover photo: Libby Vigeon IMS Buddha Photos: Dawn Close, Libby Vigeon & Éowyn Ahlstrom Design: Lux Productions Please address correspondence to: IMS, 1230 Pleasant St. Barre, MA 01005, USA Phone: (978) 355-4378 Email: [email protected]
Website: www.dharma.org Printed in Canada on recycled paper using soy-based inks
Touching the truth directly is like drinking honey – our hearts open with each drop. I love sharing that process with others. Offering the teachings is a sacred privilege. With the intention to understand someone, it’s possible to bring a joyful interest to whatever comes up for them, from boredom, to karmic knots, to delight. Resistance is so painful for all of us. I find there are two ways to work with that struggle. One is to find the key to someone’s spiritual strength, that which really allows a person to relax and concentrate. The other way is to help a person have enough mindfulness and compassion to open to things as they are – no matter how difficult. The art of both teaching and meditation practice is learning how to find a doorway to stillness and strength and then gradually applying that ability so that we can awaken to everything that happens. You are recognized as a leading vipassana teacher of teens and young adults in this country. How did you come to teach the dharma to young people? Sayadaw U Pandita, the renowned Burmese meditation master, offered the first IMS retreat for teens in 1989. Steve Smith, to whom I was married at
the time, assisted Sayadaw, and I helped as well. Steve was profoundly inspired; from then on we became the driving force in establishing this retreat as an annual IMS event. Also, Chandra, my teenage stepdaughter, sat the course. So, my family was deeply involved in IMS’s programming for teens from the start, but I had a lot of hesitation. I was reluctant to face the emotional residue from my own difficult teen years, which I knew would come up. Despite my initial uncertainty, I find that sharing the dharma with young people stretches my heart and opens my mind in ways that I consider invaluable and, I hope, reciprocal. This kind of spiritual friendship is informed by an understanding of what might have helped me to get through those thorny growing-up years with greater ease. The Buddha said, as mentioned in the commentary on the Dhammapada, that the sooner in life we begin our practice, the more likely we are to become fully enlightened beings. If we can share the dharma with people when they are young, they’ll have more time to develop their practice. Some of the people who attended those early teen retreats have now been practicing for sixteen years. As a result, they have a strong practice at a young age – the sweetest offering they can give the world. It’s wonderful to be able to help make that possible. Are there aspects of teaching that are particular to working with young people? During that first teen retreat, Steve and I discovered that there’s no need to teach the dharma differently to teens. We don’t water it down – in fact, we step it up. Many people think we might have to change something or hold something
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back, but we’ve found that the younger generation responds to the teachings just like everyone else, only quicker. I find that young people today are more educated, talented and sophisticated than my peers and I were at the same age, but they suffer from an incredible weariness. They’re inundated with information from a very young age, and our culture places high expectations on them. The pressure to be perfect is accelerating with each generation. The drive to be successful, rich, multi-talented and beautiful can manifest in so much self-hatred. For many young people, a meditation retreat is their first exposure to a way of facing up to and letting go of that suffering. The challenges of growing up in modern Western culture make young people really ripe for meditation practice. Because the stress for young people living in our materialistic culture is so great, I find that it’s helpful for teens to be taught lovingkindness practice (metta) right from the beginning. Metta is crucial for dealing with feelings of self-loathing. Facing the deterioration of so many aspects of life on the planet calls for an ability to appreciate ourselves and others just as we are. This softens the heart and allows us to accept things in a healthy way. Young people come to the dharma with a refreshing receptivity to the teachings. This is just natural as they tend to be less bound by habits of mind that get developed over the years. Many have the courage to search deeply – they really want to know that freedom is possible. Are there particular themes that frequently arise when you teach young people? Paradoxically, young people need a safe and protected space in which to
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be wild, radical and question every convention. They don’t want a spiritual practice in which they lose sight of the importance of respecting the relationships they have. Questions about their relations with partners, friends and parents tend to be extremely important. Part of our intention is to provide a safe and sacred container for inquiry into morality. With the support of the silence, precepts and discussion groups, as well as the nonjudgmental intention to understand our experience, profound honesty emerges. Young people need to challenge aspects of their lives that they find confusing, unbearable or unacceptable. In many cases our society expects them to just believe a certain set of rules for life. However, they need to learn wise and respectful inquiry. As people reach their twenties, questions of right livelihood and social justice gain significance. They’re facing the challenge of how to separate from their parents – with some dignity – and how to live on their own. Many want to work less and consume less. Often, in their minds, the pursuit of a peaceful heart includes dedication to social justice, environmental issues, kindness and sharing. Like all of us, they want to transcend the mundane, but they also want to create a way of life that reflects compassion. Therefore, they have much to offer our world. I find that young people come to the practice with an eye on figuring out how to live. They tend to be looking for a liberation practice that can be integrated and fully embodied within all aspects of their lives rather than just a retreat they can come to and then leave behind.
The practice of meditation is becoming a part of the fabric of our culture. What is your vision for the dharma in the West in the coming decades? The world issues facing young people are catastrophic. The dharma is more and more necessary. We need the vision of people who value moving toward full enlightenment and who bring the dharma into ordinary life. The health and survival of our communities, our local cultures and our economies depends on the myriad ways the dharma expresses itself – generosity, morality, kindness and contentment. In the coming decades we need to define the meaning of spiritual friendship. Spiritual friendship makes life worth living. My hope is that spiritual friendships in the sangha here in the West will continue to grow and out of these deepening connections a greater understanding of the dharma will be born. I would like to see young people fathom the ancient roots of this practice as a basis to understand reality. I hope they will be able to examine the ways in which the dharma has been transplanted into our culture and change it in a way that makes sense to them in their lifetime. It would also be great if my dream of having young people help create a center in Hawaii would come true soon.
During 2005, the IMS Retreat Center will hold two courses especially for young people – the Teen Retreat and a Vipassana Retreat for Ages 18-32. In addition, Michele will teach a 16-day Metta/Vipassana retreat, open to all ages, June 3-19, and Part 1 of the Three-Month Retreat in the fall. Her full schedule is on the web at www.vipassanahawaii.org.
IMS News Worth Noting
New Guiding Teacher Council For many years, a small group of senior and founding teachers – known as the Guiding Teachers – has steered the organization, with support from the IMS Board, in areas of retreat programming, selection of retreat teachers and a dharma program for staff.
As IMS evolved from managing a single retreat facility to today’s more complex operation of two centers, the number of faculty who offer the Buddha’s teachings here increased. “It became apparent to us all that we needed a larger council to better serve this growing teacher body, and to represent the faculty in IMS processes,” explained Guy Armstrong, a teacher with over 20 years’ experience who is based in California.
And so a new Guiding Teacher Council was elected by the teachers. Members of the new Council now number seven in total – they are IMS co-founders Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, Christina Feldman (of Gaia House in the UK), Carol Wilson (who has also served on the IMS Board), Narayan Liebenson Grady (of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center), Steve Armstrong (of the Vipassana Metta Foundation on Maui) and Guy Armstrong (from Spirit Rock). Assistance for Teen & Family Retreats Each year, IMS endeavors to cultivate the mindfulness, compassion and wisdom of the next generation through the Teen Retreat for ages 14-19 and the Family Retreat. If you have experience in working with teenagers or children, are an experienced meditator, and are interested in being a group leader for either of these retreats, please call us at (978) 355-4378 or email [email protected]
We are happy to offer sitting days in return for your service. In addition, funding is needed to cover the cost of special materials for these retreats, such as dharma books for teens and art supplies for children. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about becoming a 2005 benefactor for one or both of these courses.
Scholarship Support for Teens IMS is pleased to announce that a new scholarship, the Ryan Fund, has been established for teenagers in need of financial support to attend the annual Teen Retreat. The donor whose generosity made the scholarship possible has kindly shared these words about his intention in creating the fund. “In 1995, I was introduced to the practice of mindfulness at a five-day retreat led by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli. My growing interest in this practice led me to IMS where I learned about the various scholarship funds. My wife and I were inspired to create a scholarship for teenagers at IMS as a tribute to our son Ryan, who died shortly after his 16th birthday. “One of my favorite memories of Ryan was a moment of sharing wisdom, despite our difference in age: as was our custom, I awakened Ryan for school one morning and while he lay in bed, I gave him a back rub. He preferred very light contact, a ‘touchy-feely’ as he called them. My job was to solicit goose bumps along his lower back and rib cage, while his job was to resist the impulse to contract. I shared with him what I had learned about using the breath as an anchor line, about returning to the breath when discovering that your
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“In creating this scholarship, my wife and I hope that IMS becomes a resource for teens, a place where options for discovery are available for aspiring yogis who might not otherwise have the opportunity because of financial constraints. We didn’t know that Ryan was writing any poetry until after he died. Ultimately, we discovered 46 of his poems. They were in his pockets, notebooks, book bag and under his bed. This is his last poem, written the night before he died. I share this poem with you because of its significance to me and as a way of sharing a part of Ryan with you.” Now, and only now Forgive the lawless efforts shot into your mind. Pity comes in like a changing season in a box well kept. Take Heaven or Hell black or white, on or off, destruction and construction fight in a lost battle. You’ll find your way in these forgiven days. The future does not exist, the past is pointless. now, and only now may we live. Ryan October 20, 1995
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Do You Live Near IMS?
mind had wandered. I anticipated that he would either reject me out of hand or discount the idea completely. To my surprise, he said, ‘I know about that; I do it when I’m driving.’
One of the many ways to support IMS, if you live close enough, is to offer your time as a volunteer. IMS often needs assistance for a variety of tasks in our office, development, housekeeping and kitchen departments. If you have sat a retreat at IMS you might enjoy volunteering here as well. Developing a relationship with IMS as a regular volunteer can be especially satisfying. It’s a great way to practice in community and serve the dharma at the same time. John Holland is a chemist from North Kingstown, Rhode Island and has been volunteering at IMS since 2003. John says, “One of the nicest things I’ve ever done with my practice is to become a local volunteer at IMS. It has afforded me an opportunity to practice in a more structured atmosphere than I could hope to at home, and to listen to a number of
Local volunteer John Holland different visiting teachers give dharma talks and instructions. I have really come to enjoy spending time with the staff working, practicing, and playing, and always feel sad when it’s time to go home.” If you are available on a regular basis, weekly or biweekly, that is especially useful. If interested, please contact Human Resources. Email [email protected]
or call (978) 355-4378 ext. 23.
Legacy Giving to Preserve the Dharma So with an unhesitant mind, one should give where the gift bears great fruit. – The Buddha The generous act of planned giving will bear fruit in so many ways, bringing benefit to many future dharma practitioners. Bequests and other planned gifts help ensure that IMS will be here – serving the dharma – for generations to come. Please consider including us in your estate and financial plans. For information on how to do this, or to talk about additional planned giving options, please contact the IMS Development Office by calling (978) 355-4378, ext. 19 or emailing [email protected]
Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
Gratitude for the Sangha The experience of each IMS retreatant depends on the whole community – the yogis sitting the retreat; the teachers who freely share the dharma; the many donors and volunteers who support IMS financially and with the valuable gift of time; and all of the staff who organize, cook, clean, manage and maintain the facilities.
Cambridge Insight Meditation Center CIMC is a non-residential urban center for the teaching and practice of insight meditation. CIMC’s programs are designed to provide a strong foundation in formal meditation as well as daily practice. Our schedule includes daily sittings, weekly dharma talks, ongoing classes and practice groups, teacher interviews, and a variety of weekend workshops and meditation retreats. An open invitation is extended to all to stop by CIMC and browse through the library or join in any of the public sittings or Wednesday evening dharma talks. A growing number of out-of-town yogis have enrolled in our weekend retreats. Contact us for a list of bed and breakfasts in the area. 331 Broadway Cambridge, MA 02139 Office: (617) 441-9038 24-hour information and fax line: (617) 491-5070 Website: www.cimc.info Page 6
IMS receives a steady stream of letters of thanks for this place and its programs. We post many such notes on bulletin boards at the Retreat Center and Forest Refuge, where staff and teachers can read and appreciate them. Yet, in a sense, many of these comments are meant for the entire sangha. Here are just a few of those expressions of gratitude: “Thank you all… for providing me with this opportunity to serve. I have felt deeply enriched by countless moments arising and passing over these two weeks. Each of you has offered, without knowing it, a unique inspiration for me.” – Ted “At the end of every retreat at IMS, I wonder how I can begin to express my gratitude for all that I’ve received, even though I offer dana. Quite simply, the gifts of the dharma are endless. [Dana] is a tangible way to acknowledge something immeasurable – the profound impact that the teachings have had on my life.” – Olivia “The teaching was profound, insightful, gentle, loving, effective and greatly helpful. It is a blessing to be able to come here. Thank you IMS.” – Robert The truth is, without the participation of everyone who attends our programs and generously shares their financial resources and time, IMS would not
exist. We extend our deepest gratitude to all of you. Whether you serve as a volunteer, make a donation, or attend a retreat, your support helps make it possible for IMS to share the dharma. We just couldn’t do it without you. In the words of another community member, John, who recently wrote to IMS, “…all of you bring us light, joy and peace as we walk the path together.” Gift Certificates Give someone the gift of the dharma. You may now support a friend to sit any IMS retreat for which they qualify. IMS will issue a certificate to the value of the gift. This certificate is valid for seven years from the date of issue and can be applied as full or part payment of any IMS program. For more information, call or email our office. Go Green, Go Online Do you receive more than one copy of our newsletter? If your household would like to help save forests by sharing mailings (limiting mailings to one per household) or by relying solely on our website and email for news, please let us know.
Seeking Volunteer Consultants IMS frequently needs help from people with professional skills willing to volunteer some time or resources. If you have expertise in one of the areas below, please contact Deborah Crown, Human Resources Director. Call (978) 355-4378 ext. 31 or email [email protected]
• Web Development • Human Resources – Salary Administration • Employment or Immigration Law • Brochure Design/Printing Services S p r i n g • S u m m e r 2005
Dharma, Color, and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism Edited by Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquin Parallax Press, 2004 In this book Reverend Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquin, a Cuban-born Soto Zen priest, offers us a rare anthology of shared insights into the Four Noble Truths written by “a community of Native American, African, African American, Asian, and Latina/o heritage teachers, practitioners, and lovers of the dharma.” In the foreword, Kamala Masters writes, “Siddharta Gautama, who became Shakyamuni Buddha, was a person of color living in the north of India. In the centuries after his death, the seeds of the Buddhadharma took root in the hearts of many people of color as it migrated to Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, and Vietnam. The dharma is coming
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full circle. It is coming back to the ears, hearts, and hands of people of color, where it began many centuries and generations ago…” Thus the stage is set for the many unfoldings of this exquisite and longawaited volume. The twenty five essays gathered here are divided into five sections – the teachings of the Four Noble Truths and what Reverend Baldoquin calls “the fifth truth, the truth of Bringing the Teachings Home.” Each essay offers a glimpse into the experiences of people of color from various Buddhist traditions as they walk, and at times struggle, on the path to realize the freedom from suffering the Buddha said was possible in this very life. Those experiences are at times ones of great joy and awakening, and also ones that often bring one face to face with the “pain of invisibility and exclusion.” And face to face with the years of deep conditioning we carry with us, whether in the classroom, the market or the meditation hall. When Sala Steinbach writes in her brief and moving essay The Stories I Live With, “When I came to Green Gulch Farm Zen Center on Sundays for a year and no one spoke to me, I wondered if maybe I wasn’t wanted,” I can’t help but recall my own initial meditation retreat experiences in California in the late 80s and early 90s – being the only brother in the room. She continues, “Sitting in meditation helped me acknowledge that painful thought. It also helped me see that that wasn’t all I was. I didn’t have to hold on so tightly to the feeling of being unwanted. If that was all I was, and I knew it wasn’t, then maybe that wasn’t all there was to the people
around me either. In sitting, I can bow to the whole human being in myself and in all of us.” Dharma, Color, and Culture is like a large box that has many smaller boxes hidden inside. When you open one, you are presented with yet another. With each succeeding essay, we are offered yet another inspiring gift, another bright and shining light that illuminates the path to peace and an end to suffering. As Rosa Zubizarreta writes in her essay How Can I Be A Buddhist If I Don’t Like To Sit?, “I hope you will discover your own forms of practice, in whatever way helps you connect with the Buddha nature in all beings, in whatever way helps you understand the dharma inherent in all living beings, and in whatever way helps us all to realize our profound interconnectedness. Our lives depend on it.” Whether or not you consider yourself a person of color, you should read this book. Reviewed by Rodney Johnson
IMS Program Highlights At the Forest Refuge... During September and October this year, Bhante Bodhidhamma, an English monk, will be teaching at the Forest Refuge along with Myoshin Kelley. Bhante’s meditation began in the Soto Zen tradition in the late 1970s. He then was introduced to the Mahasi Theravada tradition, practicing many years with such prominent meditation masters as Chanmyay Sayadaw, Sayadaws U Rewata Dhamma, U Nyanaponika and U Pandita. He ordained as a monk in 1986 and went on to spend eight years living and practicing at Kanduboda Mahasi Meditation Center in Sri Lanka. He returned to the UK in 1978 where he began teaching. For the past four years he has been teacher-in-residence at Gaia House in Devon, England. During this time he and some friends established the Satipanya Buddhist Trust, a registered charity, whose goal is to create a Mahasi meditation center in the U.K. (Visit www.satipanya.org.uk for more information.) Bhante brings a wealth of experience to his role as meditation teacher, both as a practitioner and from many years of guiding others. When asked what inspired him in his own practice, he replied, “The main accent of my early practice was to crack this conundrum of unsatisfactoriness, dukkha. My own psychology also fascinated me and still does! Later, I became more interested in how the self manifests.”
Bhante Bodhidhamma continued, “In my teaching I like to emphasize what I perceive as pure insight. Vipassana is strictly to do with seeing the three characteristics of all phenomena: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self. Once a person has attained this level of understanding and can begin to maintain it, not only does the heart purify itself, but also there is a turning around in the way we relate to the world that is liberating. Like when one comes out of a stuffy, smoke-filled room. So my teaching sticks pretty close to the way I was taught by my Mahasi teachers.” When asked about the benefits of long-term practice, Bhante said, “The deeper spiritual benefit I see in virtually everyone who does long-term practice is that with insight into the three characteristics comes meaning and purpose to life. Because of greater understanding, decisions are wiser. The benefit is a more fruitful life.”
In July, Patricia Genoud-Feldman will teach together with Myoshin. Patricia has been practicing vipassana for over twenty years, with many periods of intensive meditation. She has studied with Sayadaw U Pandita and other Burmese teachers, and she ordained as a nun for the six months of practice she undertook at the Forest Refuge in 2003. Over the last two decades, she has also received Tibetan Dzogchen teachings from the late meditation masters HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Patricia teaches vipassana in Europe, Israel and the United States. “When I teach, I like to emphasize a natural awareness,” she explains. “This encourages us to deepen our sensitivity and to respect our own unfolding of the meditative process.” For the month of August, we are fortunate to have Sayadaw U Lakkhana, a Burmese meditation master teaching here with Steven Smith. Sayadaw will offer classical Burmese Theravada teachings, complemented by Steve’s contemporary interpretations and understandings. This fusion of East and West provides a unique door for practitioners to enter this ancient practice lineage. In November, Sharda Rogell will join Myoshin. Sharda, who is a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, lives in Marin County. “In my teaching I guide people towards awakening the qualities of the heart – these qualities being the expression of our deepest nature. I support yogis to develop a
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caring, compassionate relationship towards all that arises in their experience, and a willingness to look directly at what’s true in each moment. This is the key for liberating insights to arise.” Then in December, Myoshin will be teaching with Yanai Postelnik. Yanai, a former IMS resident teacher, is originally from New Zealand and now lives in Devon, England where he is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council. Yanai has taught extensively in Europe and more recently at IMS. “In my practice and teaching, I emphasize learning to rest in the immediacy of awareness. I find it extremely helpful to explore and inquire via the body, attuning to the physical and energetic experience, as a primary avenue of accessing wholesome qualities and working with afflictive mind-states or emotions. I have a deep trust in the intelligence of life and our basic goodness of heart, and see practice as essentially reawakening the wisdom and compassion that is already within us.”
At the Retreat Center... Two Retreat Center courses this year will offer yoga instruction to complement vipassana practice. Steven Smith and others will help us cultivate a deepening awareness in a vipassana and yoga course, May 2029. Larry Rosenberg and his team will teach a vipassana and Viniyoga course with an emphasis on mindful breathing, June 24-July 1. For the third successive year we will hold our People of Color Retreat, July 29-August 3. This time, however, it will take place here in Barre, rather than at another facility. Together with New York Insight, we are looking forward to sponsoring this course, which will again be taught by Joseph Goldstein, Gina Sharpe, Rachel Bagby and Russell Brown. Please check our website regarding transport information for the People of Color Retreat. Susan O’Brien will teach a Weekend for New Students, August 5-7. This retreat is designed for practitioners who have never attended a vipassana retreat as well as those who are brand new to vipassana meditation.
Since my teens, I’ve sat a few retreats at IMS. Almost always, I was the youngest by at least thirty years. Age difference didn’t bother me much. These elders were inspiring and delighted in having a young person around. When I saw that IMS was offering a retreat specifically for 18-32 year-olds, I thought, “Why should age make a difference? But look, it’s being offered on a donation basis. And since I have vacation days in August, what better way to find some peace of mind than stepping back from the rush of my life? Maybe I’ll even taste nirvana.” As young people piled in for registration, I felt buoyant. My English changed, became less formal. Instead of listening to older yogis talk about parenting and retirement plans, I found myself in conversation about travel to Asia, college stress, relating to parents — things that were going on in my life as a young adult. It was refreshing to discuss big life questions in the context of meditation and Buddhist teachings. The retreat soon entered into silence. I had a preconception that young people these days were not serious about meditation. My generation is sometimes told how we don’t understand hard work, overcoming adversity and taking responsibility. In the first few sits, though, hardly anyone near me flinched. “Holy!” I thought. “These are no debutantes doing meditation simply because it’s trendy!”
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The Next Generation: Attending the Retreat for 18-32 Year-Olds By Sumi Loundon
New York Insight
NYI has recently opened its new center in central Chelsea. Spacious, filled with light and peaceful, it is located at 28 W 27th St, 10th Floor (between 6th Ave & Broadway), New York, NY 10001. Please check our website www.nyimc.org for event descriptions and registration information, or call (212) 213-4802.
Everyone’s sincere engagement with walking, eating and sitting meditation endured for the retreat. I felt inspired by the teenagers and early twenty-somethings, who had a bright, light energy. The older ones among us, many who’d sat previous retreats, stabilized and held the energy of the group. This retreat incorporated afternoon Qigong, which we did on the lawn in the warm sun. The exercises loosened us up, revitalizing the body. We also had discussion groups with the teachers, Marvin and Rebecca. They thought the group might be too serious, so during their evening dharma talks they deliberately cracked us up with hilarious stories. In the closing circle, everyone commented how surprisingly different it was to sit with peers. We respected our elders, many of whom have been dharma mentors, but it also felt supportive to find likeminded, committed spiritual seekers in our own generation. By the end of the retreat, I knew I had to sign up for the next one, and I’m happy to see it’s been extended into a full six days. I hope you’ll come.
New York Insight (NYI) was founded as a nonprofit center for the practice of mindful awareness (vipassana or insight meditation). NYI provides a place where all are welcome to begin or deepen meditation practice based on the liberation teachings of the Buddha. Programs include evenings with renowned meditation teachers, ongoing classes, daylong retreats and weekend courses for the integration of meditation teachings in daily life. The events, except where noted, are suitable for beginning as well as experienced meditators. NYI welcomes the participation of all interested people.
Born in 1975, Sumi Loundon spent eight years growing up in a Soto Zen community in rural New Hampshire. She is the editor of the anthology Blue Jean Buddha: Voices of Young Buddhists (Wisdom, 2001). Her second book on young Buddhists will be published later this year (also by Wisdom Publications). For the last thirteen years, she has been a student of the Theravada vipassana lineage at IMS. Today, Sumi is the Assistant Director at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.
Michele McDonald, Rebecca Bradshaw and Marvin Belzer will lead another Vipassana Retreat for Ages 18-32. The course – from August 22-28 – will focus on meeting the challenges of early adulthood with greater love, courage and openness.
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Insight Meditation Society 1230 Pleasant St., Barre, MA 01005, USA www.dharma.org
RETREAT CENTER (978) 355-4378; [email protected]
Office hours: daily, 10am-12 noon & 3-5pm (except Sun. & Tues.)
FOREST REFUGE (978) 355-2063; [email protected]
Fax: (978) 355-4307 Office hours: Mon.-Fri., 9am-4pm
The Insight Meditation Society was founded in 1975 as a nonprofit organization to uphold the possibility of liberation for all beings. Its Buddhist meditation retreats provide spiritual refuge, allowing the in-depth exploration of freedom from the sufferings of mind and heart.
General Information Retreat Center courses are designed for both new and experienced meditators. Instruction in meditation and evening talks about the Buddha’s teachings are given daily. Individual or group interviews with the teachers take place at regular intervals. Silence is maintained in most retreats at all times, except during question and interview periods. A typical daily schedule starts at 5 am and ends at 10 pm. The entire day is spent in silent practice comprising alternate periods of sitting and walking meditation, as well as a one-hour work period.
Meals are vegetarian. Accommodations at the Retreat Center are simple single and double rooms; all spaces at the Forest Refuge are single. Men and women do not share rooms. Camping is not available.
IMS operates two retreat facilities – the Retreat Center and the Forest Refuge, which are set on some 200 secluded wooded acres in the quiet country of central Massachusetts. The Retreat Center, which commenced a program of silent courses in 1976, offers a full yearly schedule of meditation retreats lasting in duration from a weekend to several weeks. Most courses run for 7-9 days. A group of senior teachers provides regular guidance and direction as well as teaching a number of retreats each year themselves. In addition, recognized insight meditation teachers from all over the world come to offer teachings. The Forest Refuge opened in May 2003. For experienced vipassana meditators, its calm and peaceful environment establishes the sense of harmony most conducive to sustained, long-term personal retreat. Retreatants can practice for periods ranging from two weeks to stays of a year or more.
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At the Forest Refuge, retreats are based either on one’s own schedule, a wish to work with a particular teacher (see the Teacher Schedule on page 15), and availability. In consultation with the teachers, a personalized program of meditation practice is created, designed to nurture the highest aspiration for liberation. Support for a personal retreat includes two individual interviews with a teacher each week and twice-weekly dharma talks in the meditation hall. Tapes are also available on evenings without talks. For those interested in practicing at the Forest Refuge, there is an application process. Guidelines and an application form are available from the office or can be downloaded from our website. You may also apply online.
Evening Discourses When a Retreat Center course is in progress, anyone is welcome to attend the evening dharma talks; meditators with vipassana experience are also welcome to attend group sittings. Some restrictions apply. Please call the Retreat Center office for a daily schedule. Self-Retreat If you have participated in a course at the Retreat Center, you may schedule an individual self-retreat between courses. The length of stay may not exceed the longest period of teacherled retreat that you have done at the center. During this time, you are expected to meditate in silence, observe the five precepts and maintain a continuity of practice. The sliding scale fee is $48$63 per day, depending on your means. For self-retreats of up to six days immediately before or after a specific group course, you can put the dates on your registration form. For selfretreats of longer than six days, please call the office for an application form.
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Work Retreats Work retreats provide an opportunity to explore the integration of mindfulness practice with work. The daily schedule combines periods of formal meditation and instruction with five hours of work – in silence – in either the Kitchen or Housekeeping department. Participation is limited to experienced meditators and requires a high degree of self-reliance. Since the work can be physically demanding, a moderate level of physical fitness is required. At the Retreat Center, the timing of work retreats usually corresponds with the schedule of teacher-led courses. At the Forest Refuge, a one-month commitment is ideal.
A special application needs to be submitted; the cost is a $25 nonrefundable processing fee. Information and application forms are available online at www.dharma.org/ims/jobs, or for a work retreat at the Retreat Center, please contact the Human Resources Coordinator by calling (978) 3554378, ext. 23 or emailing [email protected]
For the Forest Refuge, call (978) 355-2063 or email [email protected]
Fees Fees for 2005 are on a sliding scale basis. At the Retreat Center, there are four rates – Sponsor, Mid, Low and Scholarship. The Forest Refuge has three rates – Sponsor, Mid and Low. Some scholarship support is available. If you can afford the Sponsor level or higher, you help make it possible for others with lesser means to attend. At the Retreat Center, registration at the Mid and Low rates goes toward room, board and some administrative expenses only. Forest Refuge fees at these rates also include an honorarium for the teachers. Any amount paid above the Low rate is a tax-deductible donation. Scholarships Our Scholarship funds assist those who are genuinely unable to afford the cost of a retreat. Each request is carefully assessed in terms of financial need, previous history and funds available. Due to limited resources, we cannot guarantee that every application will result in a scholarship award. Please be assured, however, that we will do our best to help you attend a retreat with us. You can apply online for a scholarship at the Retreat Center, or complete the registration form on page 22 and include the appropriate deposit. Check the relevant boxes regarding scholarship. Forms can be also downloaded from our website or requested from the office. Please submit your scholarship application at least six (6) weeks in
advance of the retreat start date. Funds may not be available if submitted after this date. (For the ThreeMonth Retreat, we need to receive your application by June 1, 2005.) For the Forest Refuge, complete the retreat application and indicate interest in receiving scholarship information. A scholarship form will be sent to you, if your retreat application is approved. Dana At IMS, the teachings are offered according to the principle of dana, (the Pali word for generosity, giving or gift). Dana is central to the 2,600year-old tradition of Buddhism. In the days of the Buddha, the teachings were considered priceless and so were offered freely. Early dharma teachers received no payment for their instruction. Instead, the lay community, through voluntary generosity, provided monks and nuns with food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Dana is not only a practical matter; it also plays a crucial role in the spiritual life of a dharma practitioner. Generosity is the first of the ten paramis, or qualities of character, to be perfected in spiritual life. The very act of giving benefits the person who gives, for it opens the heart and serves the well-being of others. Simply offering a small favor, a kind thought, a meal, or a flower may be a sincere form of spiritual practice. Since all fees cover less than 60% of our operating costs, we rely on your generous support. An opportunity to offer donations to the teachers, to the staff, and to the operation of IMS is provided at each retreat.
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I N S I G H T
Media Visits As the dharma takes root in our society, various media are expressing interest in the work that we do at IMS. This presents our community with a valuable opportunity to introduce the teachings to a wider audience. While maintaining our primary commitment to supporting practice, IMS may agree occasionally to requests from media to visit IMS for reporting. Before any such request is granted, the journalists will be carefully screened to assure as best we can, their ability to report fairly on our work with minimal interference. Notice of any media visit that occurs during a course will be given. We will advise retreatants as far in advance as is practically possible. We will respect the wishes of any yogi who prefers not to be included and work to minimize any impact on our meditative environment and on yogis. We appreciate your understanding of our efforts to share the dharma in this way and welcome any suggestions or questions you may have.
Meal Dana (Generosity)
The tradition of donating meals to spiritual practitioners has flourished in Asia since the time of the Buddha.
In keeping with this tradition, we welcome your donation to cover the costs of IMS meals – you have the choice of funding an individual meal or group of meals, at both our programs, or just at one, as outlined below:
Breakfast Lunch Tea Entire Day
$120 $180 $50 $350
$80 $115 $35 $230
$40 $65 $15 $120
If you, or your group of friends and fellow practitioners would like to offer Meal Dana, we will acknowledge your gift – if you wish – by inscribing your name(s) on the menu board for a particular day or meal. The date chosen for this often celebrates a birthday, honors someone who has died or commemorates another of life’s many milestones. If you do not specify a date, we can advise you in advance when your donation will be used, allowing you to take joy in knowing when you are encouraging the practice and service of the meditators, teachers and staff. To receive additional information or to request that a Meal Dana form be sent to you, please contact the IMS Kitchen Manager – call (978) 355-4378, ext. 14 or email [email protected]
If you prefer to make your donation online, visit www.dharma.org and click on Ways to Support IMS.
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Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
IMS Core Faculty Ajahn Amaro began his training in Thailand in 1978 with Ajahn Chah. He was a senior monk at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England, and now resides at Abhayagiri in Redwood Valley, CA, a branch monastery in the forest meditation tradition. Guy Armstrong has practiced insight meditation for over 20 years. His training includes practice as a Buddhist monk in Thailand with Ajahn Buddhadasa and in Burma with Pa Auk Sayadaw. He began teaching in 1984 and has led retreats in the US, Europe and Australia. Steve Armstrong has practiced mindfulness since 1975, and has led vipassana and metta retreats grounded in the Buddha’s understanding of mind since 1990. A co-founding director and guiding teacher of Ho’omalamalama, a Dhamma sanctuary and hermitage on Maui, he offers the Dhamma internationally. Ruth Denison studied in Burma in the early 1960s with the meditation master Sayagi U Ba Khin. She has been teaching since 1973 and is founder of Dhamma Dena, a desert retreat center in Joshua Tree, CA, and The Center for Buddhism in the West in Germany. Sarah Doering has practiced vipassana meditation since 1981. She has taught at both CIMC and the IMS Retreat Center, and is currently a member of the Forest Refuge Teacher Council. Christina Feldman is a co-founder of Gaia House in England and an IMS senior teacher. Following training in the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, she has been teaching meditation since 1976 and has an ongoing commitment to the long-term retreat program at Gaia House. Her books include Woman Awake! and more recently Silence and The Buddhist Path to Simplicity. Joseph Goldstein is a co-founder and guiding teacher of IMS’s Retreat Center and Forest Refuge programs. He has been teaching vipassana and metta retreats worldwide since 1974 and in 1989 helped establish BCBS. He is the author of One Dharma, The Experience of Insight and Insight Meditation. Myoshin Kelley has been practicing meditation since 1975, working with a number of teachers in various traditions. Her own teaching reflects a strong influence from Burmese masters with an emphasis on simplicity and lovingkindness. She currently teaches at the Forest Refuge. Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in Asia. He is a co-founder of IMS and Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and has taught meditation internationally since 1974. He is the author of a number of books, including A Path with Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. Michael Liebenson Grady has been practicing vipassana since 1973. He is a guiding teacher at CIMC. Narayan Liebenson Grady is a guiding teacher at CIMC where she has taught since 1985. She is the author of When Singing, Just Sing: Life As Meditation. Kamala Masters began practicing in 1975. Under the guidance of Anagarika Munindra and Sayadaw U Pandita she has been trained in vipassana and metta meditations. She is co-founder of the Vipassana Metta Foundation on Maui and is currently developing Ho’omalamalama, a sanctuary-hermitage for long-term practice. Michele McDonald has practiced vipassana meditation since 1975 and has been teaching at IMS and worldwide since 1982. She has a deep interest in preserving the ancient teachings and in finding ways of expression that make them more accessible and authentic in our time.
Steven Smith has practiced in the Mahasi Sayadaw lineage for over 30 years. He is a cofounder of Vipassana Hawai’i and the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center. He also founded the MettaDana Project, bringing health and education support to remote areas, monasteries and nunneries in Burma. Ajahn Sucitto was ordained in Thailand in 1976. He has been closely associated with Ajahn Sumedho for the last 26 years, and is currently abbot of Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery in Chithurst, England. He has taught at IMS since 1989. Carol Wilson has been practicing meditation since 1971. She has studied with a variety of teachers, including practice as a Buddhist nun in Thailand. She has been teaching retreats, including the 3-month course, at IMS and around the world since 1986.
Visiting Faculty Fred von Allmen has studied and practiced under Tibetan and Theravada teachers since 1970 in Asia, Europe and the US. He has taught retreats worldwide for 20 years. The author of several Buddhist books in German, he is also the co-founder of the Meditation Center Beatenberg in the Swiss Alps. Rachel Bagby, a long-time meditator, is a vocal artist, composer, activist and poet. She is the author of Divine Daughters: Liberating the Power and Passion of Women’s Voices. Marvin Belzer has practiced vipassana since 1982, studying primarily with Sayadaw U Pandita since 1986. He teaches philosophy at Bowling Green University. Bhante Bodhidhamma is the teacher-in-residence at Gaia House in England. Since 1978, he has practiced in the Zen and Theravada traditions. In l986 he ordained, subsequently spending eight years at a monastery in Sri Lanka, returning to the UK to teach in 1998. Rebecca Bradshaw has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1983 and teaching since 1993. She is a guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of Northampton, MA and works as a Spanishspeaking psychotherapist. Russell Brown, a long-time meditator in the Theravada and Vajrayana traditions, has been a practicing psychiatrist for 23 years. Since 1998, he has worked primarily in correctional facilities in NM. Eugene Cash is the founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of San Francisco. He is a Spirit Rock teacher and leads retreats internationally. He is also a teacher of the Diamond Approach with A.H. Almaas. Pat Coffey has practiced and studied meditation for over 25 years. He is an IMS Board Member and a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders program. Residing in Charlottesville, VA, he leads several sitting groups in the area and teaches retreats in Eastern states. Mark Coleman has been teaching vipassana retreats since 1997, following extensive training over the last 20 years in several Buddhist traditions. He also leads Wilderness Meditation courses on the West coast and has a private practice in counseling.
Larry Rosenberg practiced Zen in Korea and Japan before coming to vipassana. He is a guiding teacher of CIMC and the author of Living in the Light of Death and Breath By Breath.
Sally Clough began practicing vipassana meditation in India in 1981. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1988, she has served at Spirit Rock in a number of roles. She began teaching in 1996, and is one of the guiding teachers of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program.
Sharon Salzberg, a co-founder of IMS and BCBS, has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1971 and has been teaching worldwide since 1974. She is a guiding teacher of IMS and author of Faith, Lovingkindness and A Heart As Wide As the World.
Matthew Daniell has been practicing Buddhist meditation (vipassana and Zen) and yoga since 1984. He teaches ‘mindfulness yoga’, primarily based on the Viniyoga tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar, and also holds teaching certificates in the Kripalu and Sivananda lineages.
Rodney Smith has been teaching insight meditation since 1984. He is a former Buddhist monk and worked in hospice care for 16 years. He is the author of Lessons From the Dying and is currently the founding and guiding teacher for the Seattle Insight Meditation Society.
Chas DiCapua has practiced Zen and vipassana since 1989 and is currently an IMS Resident Teacher. He has worked with youth and meditation since 1998 and has a particular interest in combining meditation with outdoor wilderness experiences.
Patricia Genoud-Feldman has been practicing Buddhist meditation (vipassana and Dzogchen) in Asia and the West since 1984 and teaching vipassana internationally since 1997. She is co-founder of the Meditation Center Vimalakirti in Geneva, Switzerland. Trudy Goodman has studied Zen and vipassana since 1974. She is a co-founder and guiding teacher of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Teaching nationwide, she recently founded Insight LA and a family program Growing Spirit in LA. Bhante Gunaratana has been a Buddhist monk for over 50 years, and is the founder of Bhavana Society in rural West Virginia. He is the author of a number of books, including Mindfulness in Plain English and his autobiography Journey to Mindfulness. Ed Hauben is a long-term vipassana meditation practitioner and friend of IMS. He has served on the IMS board and has assisted with the Family and Teen retreats for the past 25 years. Sarah Hegarty, originally from Ireland, has spent the last five years traveling to teach and study yoga internationally. Her focus is to complement vipassana practice by bringing awareness to the breath, quiet to the mind and balance to the body’s energy. Catherine McGee has practiced insight meditation under the guidance of senior Dharma teachers in Asia and the West. She has been teaching since 1997 both at Gaia House and internationally. She is also a student of the Diamond Approach of A.H. Almaas. Franz Moeckl has practiced vipassana since 1985, both in the West and as a monk in the East. He has studied and practiced Tai Chi and Qigong for 25 years and now teaches in the US, Europe and Asia. Phillip Moffitt began studying vipassana meditation in 1983 and is a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council. He writes the Dharma Wisdom column for Yoga Journal, is the co-author of The Power to Heal and the founder of the Life Balance Institute. Annie Nugent has practiced in the Theravada and Tibetan traditions since 1979. She was an IMS resident teacher from 1999-2003. Her teaching style aims to reveal how our lives are opportunities for a clear understanding of the Truth. Susan O’Brien has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1980 and has studied with a variety of Asian and western teachers. She began teaching in 1996 and coordinates the Insight Meditation correspondence course. Douglas Phillips has trained in Buddhist meditation since 1978, and currently teaches vipassana in the New England area. He is also a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Newton, MA. Yanai Postelnik has practiced and studied insight meditation in Asia and the West and has been teaching worldwide since 1992. He was IMS resident teacher 1995-96. Originally from New Zealand, he lives in Devon, England and is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council. Sharda Rogell has been teaching in the Theravada tradition worldwide since 1985, bringing a strong emphasis to awakening heartfulness. She is on the Teacher Council at Spirit Rock, and a student of A.H. Almaas’ Diamond Approach. Marcia Rose has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1970. She is co-founder and the guiding teacher in Taos, NM of The Mountain Hermitage and Taos Mountain Sangha. She was IMS resident teacher from 1991-95 and currently teaches in the US and internationally. Gina Sharpe has studied and practiced Buddhism for over 30 years, across several traditions. She is a graduate of the first Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders Program, and a co-founder of New York Insight. She has taught meditation since 1994. Woods Shoemaker has been practicing Zen and vipassana since 1974, and currently teaches vipassana meditation. Tempel Smith has practiced vipassana meditation since 1989 including a year ordained in Burma. He works for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and is the co-founder of BASE House in San Francisco.
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2005-06 Forest Refuge Teaching Schedule Application Information
For those interested in practicing at the Forest Refuge, there is an application process. Guidelines and an application form are available from our office or can be downloaded from www.dharma.org.
May 1 - May 7
Joseph Goldstein & Annie Nugent
May 8 - May 14
May 15 - Jun 30
Sayadaw U Pandita
Jul 1 - Jul 31
Patricia Genoud-Feldman & Myoshin Kelley
Aug 1 - Aug 31
Sayadaw U Lakkhana & Steven Smith
Sep 1 - Oct 31
Bhante Bodhidhamma & Myoshin Kelley
Nov 1 - Nov 30
Sharda Rogell & Myoshin Kelley
Dec 1 - Dec 31
Yanai Postelnik & Myoshin Kelley
Please read pages 11-13 for general IMS retreat and payment information. Fees for 2005 are outlined in the box to the right. Payment is due, once your application has been approved, and is accepted online, by mail, phone or in person. Please make your check or money order payable to IMS, or include Visa or MasterCard information. For scholarship information please see page 12.
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2006 Jan 1 - Jan 31
Marcia Rose & Annie Nugent
Feb 1 - Feb 14
Myoshin Kelley & Annie Nugent
Feb 15 - Mar 31
Joseph Goldstein & Myoshin Kelley
Apr 1 - Apr 30
Myoshin Kelley & Patricia Genoud-Feldman
May 1 - Jun 30
Jul 1 - Jul 31
Carol Wilson & Myoshin Kelley
If there is no accommodation available at the time you wish to come, we encourage you to keep your application in process. You may like to change your dates, or we can put you on a waitlist, if your application is approved. There are often cancellations from those already confirmed, and spaces open up. You can also check our website (click on IMS, and then the Forest Refuge) where we post updates about space availability.
Joseph Goldstein is the Forest Refuge Guiding Teacher. The teaching schedule may change without notice. It is our intention that retreatants will have the opportunity to practice with a variety of experienced and well qualified vipassana teachers. LENGTH OF STAY
SLIDING SCALE FEES High
First month (30 days)
Second month (31-60 days)
Third month (61-90 days)
Long-term daily rate (after 90 days)
2005 Retreat Center Schedule Dates
Jan 28-Feb 4
Sharon Salzberg, Susan O’Brien & Mark Coleman
Feb 4-Feb 13
Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Susan O’Brien & Mark Coleman
Jan 28-Feb 13
Metta & Vipassana Retreat
Feb 18-Feb 22
Joseph Goldstein, Phillip Moffitt & Pat Coffey
Feb 26-Mar 5
Larry Rosenberg & Michael Liebenson Grady
Mar 13-Mar 20
Christina Feldman & Narayan Liebenson Grady
Mar 25-Apr 3
Carol Wilson, Guy Armstrong & Rodney Smith
Apr 15-Apr 17
A Weekend for New Students
Narayan & Michael Liebenson Grady
Apr 22-May 1
Ajahn Sucitto & Others
May 6-May 15
Vipassana Retreat Awakening the Heart
Yanai Postelnik, Sharda Rogell & Eugene Cash
May 20-May 29
Vipassana & Yoga Retreat
Steven Smith & Susan O’Brien with Sarah Hegarty (Yoga)
Jun 3-Jun 10
Michele McDonald, Steven Smith, Rebecca Bradshaw & Patricia Genoud-Feldman with Franz Moeckl (Qigong)
Jun 10-Jun 19
Michele McDonald, Steven Smith, Susan O’Brien & Patricia Genoud-Feldman with Franz Moeckl (Qigong)
Jun 3-Jun 19
Metta & Vipassana Retreat
Jun 24-Jul 1
Vipassana & Viniyoga Retreat
Larry Rosenberg with Woods Shoemaker, Doug Phillips & Matthew Daniell
Jul 2-Jul 6
Rebecca Bradshaw with Ed Hauben, Tempel Smith & Chas DiCapua
Jul 9-Jul 17
Insight Meditation Retreat
Christina Feldman, Fred von Allmen & Yanai Postelnik
Jul 22-Jul 27
Yanai Postelnik, Trudy Goodman & Catherine McGee
Jul 29-Aug 3
People of Color Retreat*
Joseph Goldstein, Gina Sharpe, Rachel Bagby & Russell Brown
Aug 5-Aug 7
A Weekend for New Students
Susan O’Brien & Others
Aug 12-Aug 21
Narayan & Michael Liebenson Grady
Aug 22-Aug 28
Vipassana Retreat for Ages 18-32
Michele McDonald, Rebecca Bradshaw & Marvin Belzer
Sep 2-Sep 5
Labor Day Weekend
Sep 5-Sep 11
Sep 2-Sep 11
Sep 16-Sep 18
Sep 23-Dec 16
Sep 23-Nov 4
Steven Smith, Michele McDonald, Rebecca Bradshaw & Patricia Genoud-Feldman
Nov 4-Dec 16
Steve Armstrong, Kamala Masters, Guy Armstrong & Sally Clough
Dec 28-Jan 6, 2006
New Year’s Retreat
Rodney Smith, Yanai Postelnik & Others
Please see the following pages for retreat descriptions and registration information. t If you would like to pay for your retreat at the scholarship rate, please refer to page 12 for application information. * Thanks to a generous donation, we can offer reduced rates for the People of Color Retreat. No one will be turned away due to a lack of funds. Co-sponsored by IMS and New York Insight. Page 16
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Sliding Scale Fees Sponsor
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Support the Scholarship Fund IMS is committed to offering scholarship assistance to those who cannot afford the entire cost of a meditation retreat. Your generous contributions provide funding for many individuals seeking to participate in our programs. Help someone else to sit. You may designate that your donation be directed to one or more of the following specialized scholarship areas: General, People of Color, Youth Outreach (for those aged 18-25), Danic (for those in pain), Ryan (for teens), the Forest Refuge or the Retreat Center. Contributions can be sent to: IMS Attn: Donations 1230 Pleasant St. Barre, MA 01005, USA To donate online, visit our website www.dharma.org and click on Ways to Support IMS
Retreat Center Course Descriptions Vipassana Insight Meditation (vipassana in Pali, the language of the original Buddhist teachings) is the simple and direct practice of moment-to-moment mindfulness. Through careful and sustained observation, we experience for ourselves the ever-changing flow of the mind/body process. This awareness leads us to accept more fully the pleasure and pain, fear and joy, sadness and happiness that life inevitably brings. As insight deepens, we develop greater equanimity and peace in the face of change, and wisdom and compassion increasingly become the guiding principles of our lives. The Buddha first taught vipassana over 2,500 years ago. The various methods of this practice have been well preserved in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism, and the retreats at IMS are all rooted in this ancient and well-mapped path to awakening. Metta Metta is the Pali word for friendship or lovingkindness. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart. With its roots in practices said to be taught by the Buddha himself, metta is traditionally offered along with meditations that
enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity. These practices lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, happiness and a greater ability to love. Men’s Retreat For over 2,500 years men have come together to practice the Buddha’s teachings. As a way of continuing this tradition, IMS offers a vipassana course for men, complementing the long-established Women’s Retreat. The traditional format of sitting and walking meditation, group interviews and evening dharma talks helps foster a powerful and supportive sense of community. This retreat is designed to strengthen the practice of men experienced in meditation and be an introduction for those new to the practice. Beginners are welcome. Women’s Retreat In the classical context of silence and sustained meditation practice, women have gathered together on this annual retreat for more than twenty years, creating a powerful sense of community in which our capacity for deepening in wisdom and compassion is supported. There are daily talks, instructions, lovingkindness practice and meetings with the teachers. Over the decades, this course has played a seminal role in honoring the long tradition of women in the meditative life.
A Weekend for New Students This weekend is designed for practitioners who have never attended a vipassana retreat as well as those who are brand new to vipassana meditation. A continuity of mindfulness will be emphasized in a supportive and silent atmosphere. Sitting and walking periods will be shorter than the standard retreat format at IMS and the schedule will also include talks and periods of discussion. Monastic Retreat Western nuns and monks from the Thai Buddhist monastic tradition teach a vipassana retreat each year at the center. The 2005 course will focus on mindfulness of breathing. Retreatants will be asked to observe the eight monastic precepts (which include abstaining from eating after noon each day) and to participate fully in the daily routine of sitting, standing and walking meditation. Each day, group practice will begin with an offering of flowers, light (in the form of candles) and fragrance (incense), as well as chanting to the Triple Gem. Awakening the Heart – A Vipassana Retreat The Buddha’s path of awareness and freedom is an invitation to discover inner peace and a compassionate heart in the very midst of our human reality. In this retreat we will cultivate a mindful presence which embraces life and enables us to see things as they are. We will emphasize embodiment and acceptance as the basis for genuine intimacy with our direct experience. The practice of meditation in sitting, standing, walking and lying postures will be supported by dharma talks, instructions, lovingkindness practice and regular meetings with the teachers.
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I N S I G H T
Whether experienced or new to either vipassana or yoga, everyone is welcome. Please bring a yoga mat. Vipassana & Viniyoga Retreat The particular form of vipassana meditation emphasized during this retreat is Anapana Sati, where conscious breathing is used to develop both calm and liberating insight. Viniyoga in the tradition of TKV Desikachar is a form of training that emphasizes the coordination of mindful breathing with all bodily movement, making the breath sensations more vivid and in general preparing the body for extended periods of sitting meditation. The yogic postures will emphasize mindfulness, so that this training is fully compatible with vipassana meditation practice. There will be two optional periods of viniyoga each day. Individual needs will be honored; beginners to vipassana and yoga are welcome. Please bring a yoga mat. Teen Retreat This retreat is specifically for teens aged 14-19. It offers beginning meditation instruction, half-hour sitting and walking periods, discussion groups, meditative arts and free time. The aim is to allow young adults to develop and
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value their natural spirituality within a supportive environment. Extensive supervision is provided.
You MUST specify name, full date of birth and gender of all children on your registration.
Though Michele McDonald will not be present during this retreat, she is the supervising senior teacher and her valuable input will help guide the program.
People of Color Retreat This retreat, co-sponsored by IMS and New York Insight provides an indepth experience of insight meditation, fostering support and understanding among people of color who find nourishment and inspiration in this practice. It is also an introduction to the Buddha’s teachings on mindful awareness for those without previous meditation experience. Beginners are encouraged to attend.
Insight Meditation Retreat Insight meditation is a path of awakening, and a retreat is an invitation to nurture our capacity for the vastness of heart and mind that is possible for each of us. Attending to our body, mind, heart and each unique moment with a mindful and compassionate attention, we walk an ancient path that leads to the end of sorrow and the emergence of joy, serenity and freedom. Daily instructions, dharma talks, lovingkindness meditations as well as regular meetings with the teachers are offered during the course. Family Retreat This course is an invitation to honor and nurture the spirituality of family life. Through formal meditation practice, discussions, family meditations and dharma teachings, we will explore what it means to realize a deep wisdom and compassion that is not separate from our lives and relationships, and yet not bound by them.
Thanks to a generous donation, we can offer reduced rates for this course (see page 16). No one will be turned away due to lack of funds; we will accept whatever you can afford to contribute. Vipassana Retreat for Ages 18-32 This retreat specifically addresses the practice needs of new and experienced meditators in the challenging years of early adulthood. The format includes daily meditation instruction, group and individual interviews as well as opportunities for questions and discussion.
A dharma program for children over 2 years old is included; it is staffed by volunteers who coordinate ageappropriate activities. A parent or friend needs to stay with any child under 2 years old at all times. Each family unit pays an additional fee for the children’s dharma program. This is on a sliding scale basis, ranging from $50 to $150.
Vipassana & Yoga Retreat The teachings throughout this course are based on those of the eminent Burmese nun Daw Yazana and the Mahasi meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita and the late Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw. They will focus on the cultivation of a relaxed and open awareness of awareness itself. Twice-daily optional yoga sessions will be offered to ground and energize the body and mind, complementing and integrating the deepening mindfulness and insight.
Participants can help Ruth celebrate her 83rd birthday during this time. Dana Weekend This course is offered by IMS to affirm the spirit and practice of generosity. There is no fixed fee. Participants are asked to offer whatever contribution fits their means.
Three-Month Retreat The annual three-month course is a special time for practice. Because of its extended length and the continuity of guidance, it is a rare opportunity to deepen the powers of concentration, wisdom and compassion. The teaching is in the style of Mahasi Sayadaw, refining the skillful means of mental noting, slow movement and precise, open awareness. Prerequisite is three retreats of a week or more in duration with a recognized vipassana teacher, or special permission. This experience, including teachers’ names, as well as dates and length of retreats must be documented on the registration form.
from May 16 to June 30, $150; after June 30, $250. Please note that these amounts will apply even if you wish to move from any part of the course to another. New Year’s Retreat The New Year is an opportunity for reflection and intention. Before deciding the direction our life should head towards, it is helpful to thoroughly investigate ourselves as we are now. This vipassana retreat will gently explore the terrain of our lives with compassion and wisdom.
Special cancellation fees and deadlines apply for this retreat. 3MO and Part 1: up to March 31, $50; from April 1 to May 15, $150; after May 15, $350 for 3MO, and $250 for Part 1. Part 2: up to May 15, $50;
Retreats with Ruth Denison The style of teaching of these retreats is unique in the IMS schedule. In addition to traditional sittings and dharma talks, Ruth leads her students into the phenomenology of sound and movement, which then become the subjects of insight and wisdom. Individual and group-as-a-whole activities such as chanting, dance and playful celebration, done with respectful mindfulness, become vehicles for vipassana attention and awakening. This is accomplished with Ruth’s everpresent, skillful support.
Dharma Seed continuing the oral tradition
by sharing Western Buddhist Vipassana Teachings All talks in the 2005 Dana Catalog are freely offered on either CD or Audio Cassette
To order from our Basic Catalog go to our on-line shop at: www.dharmaseed.org (all talks are priced in this on-line catalog)
Just a reminder, if you can’t get to a retreat, most new retreat talks are available from Dharma Seed.
Dharma Seed Archival Center email:
To request the 2005 Dana Catalog: call 800-969-7333, [email protected]
or go to www.dharmaseed.org
S p r i n g • S u m m e r 2005
Retreat Center Registration Information Registrations • Are accepted online, by mail or in person. For security reasons, we do not accept registration by email. Incomplete applications, including those without sufficient deposit, will be returned. • Are processed by date received or by lottery. • If registering online, an email is sent immediately acknowledging receipt of your application. • Whether registering by mail or online, within two weeks of your registration being processed you should receive further correspondence indicating your registration status. If you do not hear from us within this time please contact our office. • All retreatants are expected to participate in the entire course. Prior approval of both the teacher and the office is required for those wishing to arrive late or leave early. Once a retreat is in process, such movement is disruptive to others and places an additional burden on other retreatants with regard to work periods. Your room cannot be guaranteed if you arrive late; the full course fee will be charged regardless of length of stay. • Please contact the office if you are chemically sensitive. • IMS strives to provide a safe, peaceful and efficient environment for meditators. It is with regret that we find, at times, the need to turn some one away. Please know that we take great care in such situations – the discernment process is thorough and always with the intention to protect the majority of those who practice here. Wait List • If a course is full, you will be placed on a wait list and notified if an opening
S p r i n g • S u m m e r 2005
occurs. If you do not get into a course, your deposit will be refunded. Payments • Retreat fees and deposits are listed beside each course on the schedule (see pages 16-17). Pricing is on a sliding scale basis – this allows you to pay according to your means. Any amount paid above the Low rate is a taxdeductible donation. • The full deposit is required even if you are applying for a scholarship, except for those applying through the Youth Outreach Program, in which case a $50 deposit is accepted. • Please pay by check, credit card or money order in US funds, drawn on a US or Canadian bank. We cannot accept foreign cash or bank drafts. • If possible, please pay the entire retreat cost on registering; this helps our efficiency. • Make check or money order payable to IMS, or include Visa or MasterCard information on the form. Cancellation • If you need to cancel your registration, please contact us as soon as possible. Fees are: $25 if you cancel six or more weeks before a course begins; $100 four to six weeks before; and the full deposit less than four weeks before. • The cancellation policy for the Three-Month Retreat is more stringent. (Please see page 20 for information.) • Cancellation fees apply if you are confirmed into a course from the wait list and do not accept. So please notify us immediately if you decide you no longer wish to attend. • All cancellation fees support the Scholarship Fund.
The Insight Meditation Community of Washington IMCW offers training in Vipassana – or Insight – meditation and related Buddhist practices that awaken the heart and mind. We serve the entire DC metro area. In addition to our flagship Wednesday night class in Bethesda, IMCW’s programs include weekly classes and sitting groups in Washington; Takoma Park and Frederick, MD; northern Virginia and Shepherdstown,WV. We also offer nonresidential weekend retreats and workshops, as well as a thriving community of peer-led Kalyana Mitta – or spiritual friends – groups. Longer residential retreats, held several times a year, are open to out-of-towners as well as DC-area residents. IMCW is guided by founder and senior teacher, Tara Brach, in addition to a Teachers Council and Board of Directors. IMCW extends a warm welcome to both newcomers and experienced meditators. There are many ways to participate in our community and deepen your practice. Please visit our website for a full schedule of classes, retreats and other activities. Look for us at www.imcw.org or call us at (202) 986-2922
✁ Retreat Center Registration Form PLEASE COMPLETE IN FULL AND PRINT CLEARLY. If you are registering for more than one course, photocopy this form and send a separate form for each retreat.
Mail to IMS, 1230 Pleasant St., Barre, MA 01005, USA. Or, you may prefer to register online at www.dharma.org. Course Code _______________ Visit Dates: From ___________________ To ___________________
Deposit $ ____________
Name _______________________________________________________ Sliding Scale Amount You Will Pay $____________ Address _____________________________________________________ Have you been to IMS before? YES ❑
City _____________________________ State _______________ Country __________________ Zip _______________________ Check ❑ if new address. Old address ________________________________________________________________________ Day Phone _________________________
Evening Phone _________________________ Email ________________________
M ❑ F ❑ Year of Birth _________ Do you smoke? ______ Do you snore? _____ Can you offer a ride? YES ❑
Please indicate any physical disabilities or special needs to assist in assigning your room. _____________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Retreat Experience (for PT1, PT2, 3MO). Please list teacher names, dates and locations
(attach extra paper if necessary).
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I wish to apply for a scholarship:
Please send me an application form
I have downloaded the form already
I wish to receive my confirmation packet :
by regular mail
May we add your street address to our mailing list?
For IMS use only? YES ❑ NO ❑ For sharing with similar organizations? YES ❑ NO ❑
May we add your email address to our emailing list? For IMS use only? YES ❑ NO ❑ For sharing with similar organizations? YES ❑ NO ❑ I have added $_____________ as a donation to IMS. Payment Information ❑ My check is enclosed for $ __________________
Credit Card # Expiry Date _________ /___________ Exact Name on Credit Card _____________________________________________________ 3-Digit Verification Code (last 3 digits of the sequence on back of Credit Card) Total amount to charge Credit Card $_____________ Page 22
Cardholder Signature ________________________________________ www.dharma.org
S p r i n g • S u m m e r 2005
Barre Center for Buddhist Studies ...for the integration of scholarly understanding and meditative insight...
149 Lockwood Road Barre, MA 01005 Phone: (978) 355-2347 Fax: (978) 355-2798 Email: [email protected]
The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) offers a variety of study and research opportunities: lectures, classes, workshops, retreats and independent study programs. While rooted in the classical Buddhist tradition, the BCBS mission calls for the study of all schools of Buddhism and discussions with other traditions. The emphasis is on the interrelationship between study and practice, and on exploring the relevance of classical teachings to contemporary life.
BCBS Schedule for 2005
Insight Journal The Insight Journal is a free BCBS publication, containing articles of lasting interest on the integration of scholarly understanding with meditative insight.
Articles in the Fall 2004 issue include: Teacher Interview with Taitetsu Unno Hate Never Dispels Hate by Sarah Doering The Matrix of Experience by Andrew Olendzki Spiritual Friendship by Jean Esther Lessons from an Illness by Marilyn Judson What Is Mindfulness? And Why is it Important to Therapists? by Chris Germer
…and more. If you would like to receive your free subscription to Insight Journal, please call or email us. The Spring 2005 issue will be published in early May. S p r i n g • S u m m e r 2005
Andrew Olendzki, et al.
Essentials of Buddhist Psychology
Emptiness: The Still Point of the Turning World
June 25 (1-5 pm) Sharon Salzberg
Buddhist Models of Enlightenment
Taitetsu & Mark Unno
Bill & Susan Morgan
Meditation for Psychotherapists
Vimalakirti Sutra (Bhavana Program)
Wisdom and Compassion
Meditation Through the Vajra Songs of Female Masters
Special Event: Forum
Buddhist Responses to Violence
Abhidhamma: Classical Buddhist Psychology
Awakening to the Yoga-Sutra: Yoga and Dhamma
Narayan & Michael Liebenson Grady
Inner Freedom & Nonreactivity in Relationship
Insight Dialogue and Sankhara
Oct 28-Nov 4
Andrew Olendzki & Taraniya
Insight Into What? (Bhavana Program)
Andrew Olendzki & Taraniya
Essentials of Buddhist Psychology
Harvey Aronson, with Anne Klein
Working with Anger
Anne Klein, with Harvey Aronson
Knowing Body, Glowing Mind: Practicing Wholeness
The Paradox of Suffering
Nov 27-Dec 4
Cultivating Lovingkindness, Compassion, Appreciative Joy and Equanimity
Conscious Caring: Mindfulness and Caregiving
For full course descriptions and registration, please request our program catalog by writing to [email protected]
or visiting www.dharma.org/bcbs. www.dharma.org
Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage I N S I G H T
N E W S L E T T E R
Insight Meditation Society 1230 Pleasant St. Barre, MA 01005
Permit No.2 Worcester, MA
A stipend or salaried position at IMS presents an opportunity to integrate work and practice in a supportive environment. It is a valuable way to be of service, and to learn about yourself in relationship to others. A diverse benefits package is offered. Stipend Staff Positions: Seeking Experienced Cooks
Salaried Staff Position: Public Awareness Coordinator
(For complete descriptions see www.dharma.org/ims/jobs)
PHOTOS: LIBBY VIGEON
Please contact: Human Resources Coordinator Phone: (978) 355-4378 ext. 23 Email: [email protected]