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2015 Forest Refuge Schedule ~ Applications Now Open
April 2014 – The 2015 schedule of teachers for the Forest Refuge is now available, and applications for next year are being accepted. Please also see retreat guidelines for this longer-term practice center and information about the application process. If you have any questions, call the Forest Refuge office at 978-355-2063 or email email@example.com.
Registration Now Open – 2015 Retreat for Mindfulness-Based Professionals
April 2014 – Christina Feldman, John Peacock and Chris Cullen will be leading Mindfulness, Insight, Liberation, January 24-31, 2015. This retreat is specifically for those teaching, training, researching or otherwise engaged in mindfulness-based approaches. Register now or find out more information.
New Books from Our Teachers
April 2014 – IMS co-founder Sharon Salzberg's newest book, Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, takes a clear look at the challenges that are an inevitable part of our job life, and offers "an array of tools for cultivating greater stability, openness and fulfillment while working."
The book is filled with people's stories from their widely-varied job experiences. Sharon gives us meditations and exercises to help us develop what she calls the eight pillars of happiness in the workplace: balance, concentration, compassion, resilience, communication and connection, integrity, meaning, and open awareness.
IMS guiding teacher Rodney Smith, founder of Seattle Insight Meditation Society also has a new book out. Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart starts with the observation, "Many of us do not understand what spiritual transformation requires." Rodney describes the book's territory:
This book attempts to explain genuine spiritual realization. When we speak of enlightenment and awakening, what do we mean? What actually occurs when we slip beyond consensus or conventional reality, and why would we undertake such a journey? This book looks at the topography of the journey from beginning to end, the multiple ways we undermine the very growth we seek, the shift in consciousness that does occur, and the life that arises out of that shift.
Funding for People of Color for Longer-Term Practice in 2014
December 2013 – Thanks to a generous bequest, IMS can offer a limited amount of assistance for longer-term practice in 2014, specifically for people of color with financial need who meet the practice requirements.
This funding forms part of our broader vision to increase, over time, the number of people of color in leadership positions within our broader community.
Applications for this funding are now open to people of color who are unable to afford IMS’s usual fees. Since our funds are limited, we will be awarding spaces on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage those interested to apply as soon as possible.
Fees will be on a ‘You Choose’ basis. This means you can establish the rate you are able to pay, at or above $15 per night. (If paying more than $15 per night is possible, it will allow additional meditators of color to receive support.)
Prior retreat experience is required for this practice opportunity. For Part 1 or Part 2 of the Three-Month Retreat, the prerequisite is two courses of a week or more with a recognized insight meditation teacher, or special permission.
At the Forest Refuge, it’s recommended that applicants have participated in at least one six-week structured and teacher-led insight meditation retreat, or six similar one-week retreats.
For anyone wishing to apply, please proceed as follows:
- For Part 1 or Part 2 of the Three-Month Retreat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-355-4378 ext. 170 as soon as possible to request the ‘You Choose’ rate. A link will then be sent to you to an online registration form. This includes questions regarding your application for this fee, as well as other questions related to this particular retreat. Please note that a deposit of $375 will be necessary to secure a space.
- For the Forest Refuge, email email@example.com or call 978-355-2063 to indicate interest in applying for a personal retreat during 2014 at this ‘You Choose’ rate.
Participants from the 2013 Three-Month Retreat.
Recent Books by IMS Teachers
November 2013 – Books by three IMS teachers were published this fall. First out was Love Your Enemies: How To Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier, by IMS co-founder and guiding teacher Sharon Salzberg and long-time dharma teacher Robert Thurman. In this book, the authors lead readers on a journey through four kinds of enemies we can encounter in life.
Here is Sharon’s description of these four, from the introduction:
"Outer enemies are the people who harass or annoy us, as well as life situations that frustrate or confound us. Inner enemies are the habits of our reactive mind - particularly anger and hatred - that enslave us to and play havoc with our lives. Deeper still we find our secret enemy, the self-absorption that cuts us off from others and from our own loving nature. And finally, there is the super-secret enemy, the deeply entrenched sense of self-loathing that keeps us from realizing our kinship with all beings. The teachings and meditations in this book help us to draw on our own innate wisdom and compassion in order to transform our relationship with our enemies, both inner and outer."
Next to appear was IMS co-founder and guiding teacher Joseph Goldstein’s new book, Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. From the jacket: “With Mindfulness, Joseph Goldstein shares the wisdom of his four decades of teaching and practice in a book that will serve as a lifelong companion for anyone committed to mindful living and the realization of inner freedom.”
Also available now is a three-CD set, Mindfulness: Six Guided Practices for Awakening, has essential mindfulness meditations that complement the teachings in the book.
The most recent book to appear was Three Steps to Awakening: A Practice for Bringing Mindfulness to Life, by IMS core teacher Larry Rosenberg, founding teacher of Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, with Laura Zimmerman. “Drawing on the various Buddhist traditions in which he has practiced, [Larry] describes three subtly different but complementary forms of meditation practice: (1) breath awareness, (2) breath as anchor, and (3) choiceless awareness. Having the three methods in one’s repertoire gives one meditation resources for any life situation…. After teaching the three-step method, Larry goes on to show how to bring the awareness gained in meditation to the world off the cushion, into relationships and into all areas of daily life.” (From the Shambhala Publications website)
Check our Reading List for more books by IMS teachers.
In Memoriam: S.N. Goenka (1924-2013)
September 2013 – Satya Narayan Goenka, who played a pivotal role in bringing vipassana (or insight) meditation practice to contemporary students both in Asia and the West, died at his home in India on Sunday, September 29. Affectionately known as 'Goenka-ji,' he was one of the early mentors of IMS's founders and senior teachers, who sat retreats taught by him in India in the early 1970s.
As co-founder Sharon Salzberg recalls, "I first learned to meditate in January 1971, in a retreat led by S.N. Goenka. His voice was the one that described a path of morality, concentration and insight leading to liberation. His words were the opening to a whole new sense of possibility for me, and set the course for my entire life. His teaching of metta (lovingkindness) was the first time I had a sense of boundless love and compassion. I am profoundly grateful for having studied with him."
May Goenka-ji's teachings continue to help liberate all beings.
IMS founders Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein first met in 1971 at a retreat in India taught by S.N. Goenka.
Three-Month Retreatants Settle into Newly Named Dormitories
September 2013 – On Tuesday, September 10 we welcomed participants to this year's historic Three-Month Retreat. For the first time in IMS’s history, approximately a third of the course participants are people of color, thanks to a generous grant from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation For American Buddhism. The first full day of the retreat, Wednesday, September 11, coincided with a ceremony to honor the completion of IMS's construction project. At the ceremony, Executive Director Linda Spink announced new names for all dormitories, recently approved by IMS's Board:
- The new dormitory is named Bodhi House. Bodhi in Sanskrit means 'awakened.'
- The Catskills is now named Karuna House. Karuna in Pali and Sanskrit means 'compassion.'
- The Annex is now named Shanti House. Shanti in Sanskrit means 'peace.'
By adding the word 'House' after each name, accommodation buildings are differentiated from other Retreat Center facilities.
This panorama shows the new Retreat Center dormitory, Bodhi House (L), the enclosed walkway connecting it to both Shanti House (formerly the Annex, at rear) and the new stair tower at the end of Karuna House (formerly the Catskills, R).
Registration for 2014 Retreat Center Courses Now Open
September 2013 – The full schedule of 2014 courses at the Retreat Center is now available. Some retreats run for a weekend; others last up to three months. Most are suitable for both new and experienced meditators. Our 2014 schedule includes themed and identity retreats for mindfulness professionals, women, people of color, teens, families and 18-32 year olds.
Our new 2014 Retreat Schedules leaflet for both of our centers is now in the mail. If you would like to receive a copy and are not on our mailing list, consider signing up.
Single Rooms for All is Now a Reality
June 2013 – With the start of this year's People of Color Retreat on Saturday, June 15, the new Retreat Center dormitory welcomed its first occupants. Our vision to offer single rooms for all retreatants at both our centers is finally a reality.
The Catskills dormitory is now closed as extensive renovations are underway. On completion, planned for early September, all its accommodations will also be singles. For the latest project photos and updates, visit our construction news page.
A single room in the new dormitory.
The Forest Refuge Celebrates its 10th Anniversary
May 2013 – Friday, May 10, 2013 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Forest Refuge, IMS's center for personal, longer-term retreat practice. Since the facility opened in May, 2003 over 1,500 retreatants sat more than 3,200 retreats for a total of over 84,000 days of practice.
The anniversary celebration, led by lay and monastic teachers, was attended by about 70 friends of IMS including teachers, staff, retreatants and volunteers.
Participants gathered around the Forest Refuge meadow Buddha for the ceremony. Flowers, incense and water were set out in preparation for the blessing.
Monastics (L-R) Ayya Nimmala Bhikkhuni, Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni and Ajahn Punnadhammo listened to Joseph Goldstein describe the original vision of a longer-term retreat center for IMS.
The monastics chanted the three refuges and blessings.
The monastics blessed the participants by chanting and sprinklings of water.
The monastics led the group in a circumambulation of the meditation hall.
Coming around the meditation hall and heading towards the Buddha.
Near the end of the ceremony, Resident Teacher Sky Dawson led us in a guided metta meditation.
A beautifully decorated cake was served in the Forest Refuge dining room!