This issue celebrates the completion of our new Retreat Center dormitory and Catskills renovations. We also share the results of the naming process for our three Retreat Center dormitories, as well as photos of our ceremony to dedicate and bless the construction and renovation work. There’s news about the latest publications from IMS co-founders Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein,
Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,
or your own genuine solitude?
Freedom, or power over an entire nation?
A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.
From Linda Spink, IMS Executive Director: This poem was shared by Joseph Goldstein at IMS’s recent
blessing ceremony. (You can find more details about this event below.) Rumi’s words eloquently
express to me the aspiration guiding our ‘Single Rooms for All’ endeavor: to provide greater
accommodation privacy as a support for deeper practice and a sense of refuge.
I’m now delighted to announce that just a year after breaking ground, our project to construct a new Retreat
Center dormitory and to renovate the Catskills is completed. Our accommodations vision has been brought
Our heartfelt gratitude to all who contributed to this accomplishment.
In many countries, cultures, and traditions, naming someone or something involves the community or family
elders, and is accompanied by ritual and blessing. Often, names evoke the qualities the elders wish to
bestow on the child or they evoke an aspiration for the future.
And so, in a similar vein, we see the culmination of our construction efforts as a special opportunity to
name all Retreat Center dormitories so that they more fully reflect IMS’s values and traditions.
In the last issue of Sangha News we asked our community to suggest names for the new dormitory, the renovated
Catskills and the Annex.
Many of you responded with interesting and humorous suggestions! After much discussion and consideration,
IMS’s Board approved the following:
By adding the word ‘House’ after each name, we’re differentiating accommodation buildings from other Retreat
May the retreatants who stay in these accommodations experience the awakening, the compassion and the peace
that is evoked by these names.
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).
On Wednesday, September 11, IMS held a ceremony to honor the construction project’s completion.
Over 140 retreatants, teachers, staff, friends and supporters were welcomed by Executive Director Linda Spink.
The date of the ceremony coincided with the first full day of this year’s Three-Month Retreat. For the first
time in IMS’s history, approximately a third of the course participants are people of color.
Rosemary Blake, IMS’s Board President, spoke movingly about the joy on seeing the special diversity of this
year’s Three-Month Retreat. She thanked everyone whose efforts are now bearing fruit, from those who
first seeded the idea for a group of people of color to sit this course, to friends and supporters who
made it financially possible for so many retreatants of color to undertake longer-term practice.
Joseph Goldstein outlined the importance of accommodation privacy for inspiring retreat practice.
Bhante Buddharakkhita, part of the teaching team for Part 1 of this year’s Three-Month course, then led the
formal blessing ritual, including a circumambulation of Bodhi House, the new dorm.
(Above and below) Bhante Buddharakkhita blesses the new construction.
The ceremony closed with a metta meditation, wishing all beings well, offered by Sky Dawson, Teacher-in-Residence
at the Forest Refuge.
Work on the front entrance to the Retreat Center main building is almost complete. Thanks to our sangha’s
generosity, a new ramp, raised patio and foyer floor now make the facility fully accessible to anyone
with mobility issues. Some final touches will be added when the weather is warmer next spring.
The informal sitting area on the second floor of Bodhi House.
One of the simply furnished, peaceful Karuna House bedrooms.
Over the years, IMS retreatants have appreciated a small gazebo in the woods as a place to meditate in
nature, while still protected from the elements.
A year or so ago, the structure needed to be closed for repairs. And now, thanks to the generosity of
some in our community, it has been fortified and is open again for practice!
New titles are coming out over the next few months from Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, both IMS
First up is a book by Sharon, together with Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman, titled Love Your Enemies:
How to Break the Anger Habit and Be a Whole Lot Happier. Its publication date is set for this month.
In the book, the authors lead readers on a journey through four kinds of enemies we can encounter in
life: outer enemies, inner enemies, secret enemies, and super-secret enemies. They offer resources
to help us respond more effectively to these powerful forces in our lives. In undertaking this work
we can change for the better our relationships with the people, situations and patterns of thought
that seem to threaten our well-being.
The following excerpt by Sharon from the introduction describes these four kinds of enemies.
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.
Click [media-downloader media_id=”1929″ texts=”here”] for additional excerpts by Sharon that give an
idea of the topics covered in the book and her approach to them.
Joseph Goldstein’s new book is Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening.
It will be released next month. Joseph’s source teaching for the book is the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta,
the Buddha’s renowned discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness.
A CD to complement his book is already available. In Mindfulness: Six Guided Practices for Awakening,
Joseph brings core teachings and guided practices for “looking directly at the nature of the mind
and body, at how suffering is created, and how we can awaken and be free.”
In mid-June, IMS’s sister center in California, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, hosted a gathering
of insight meditation teachers, most of whom are based in Western countries. Every few years,
teachers from this lineage meet to vision together how Buddhist teachings can best serve our
various communities of practitioners and the world at large. Among the topics discussed this
time were diversity and undoing racism, the role that dharma teachers can play as we face the
reality of climate change, applied mindfulness, and support for teachers in retirement.
Teachers at Spirit Rock for the 2013 Vipassana Teachers Meeting.
Joseph and Sharon are part of neuropsychologist Rick Hanson’s upcoming video interview series,
Hardwiring Happiness: The 7 Essential Strengths.
This freely-offered series starts Monday, September 23.
Throughout this month, Marcia Rose, guiding teacher of The Mountain Hermitage in Taos, NM and Teacher-in-Residence Sky Dawson are offering the teachings together at the
(L-R) Marcia Rose and Sky Dawson
One of Marcia’s recent talks is Transformation and Relinquishment of Afflictive Emotions.
To download or stream other recent Forest Refuge teacher talks and morning reflections, click
On September 10, retreatants arrived for this year’s Three-Month Retreat, bringing their essential belongings with them!
The teaching team for Part 1 of the course: (L-R) Bonnie Duran, Winnie Nazarko, Guy Armstrong, Andrea Fella, Carol Wilson, Joseph Goldstein and Bhante Buddharakkhita.
At the Forest Refuge,some
space is available from now until November 9, if you’re considering a personal retreat. Or,
if you’re planning ahead, check out our 2014 schedule.
Contact our office for more information – please email or call us at 978-355-2063.
At the Retreat Center,
ust one 2013 course still has openings: Wise Concentration, Steadying the Mind, December
17-22, with teachers Marcia Rose, Pat Coffey and Winnie Nazarko. They’ll guide participants
in cultivating concentration, allowing the development of tranquility and equanimity of mind
and heart. These qualities prepare the ground for a penetrating insight into the nature of
In 2014, Howard Cohn and Lila Kate Wheeler will return to teach a four-day course, The Buddha’s
Way to Happiness, February 5-9. This will be followed by a five-day retreat, The Art of Mindful
Living, February 14-19, led by Larry Rosenberg and Michael Grady.
Larry Yang and Gina Sharpe will offer a three-day weekend course, The Joy of Letting Go: Reconciliation,
Restoration and Forgiveness, February 28 – March 3.
These positions present an opportunity to deepen your practice while working with others who
share similar values. Both offer optional on-site housing. More information is available
All of us at IMS wish you, your family and your community peace and bounty in the coming months.
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IMS is a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart. We offer meditation retreats
rooted in the Theravada Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration and wisdom. These practices
help develop awareness and compassion in ourselves, giving rise to greater peace and happiness
in the world.
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