A limited number of You Choose fee spaces are available for people of color, young adults (18-32 year olds), and other experienced retreatants in financial need. This means you can establish your own retreat fee, based on your financial means. A minimum of $20 per night, or $840 for six weeks, is required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
This six-week partial of the three-month course is a special time for practice. Because of its extended length and ongoing guidance, it is an opportunity for students to deepen the powers of concentration, wisdom and compassion. Based on the meditation instructions of Mahasi Sayadaw and supplemented by a range of skillful means, this silent retreat will encourage a balanced attitude of relaxation and alertness, and the continuity of practice based on the Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
Éowyn Ahlstrom will offer optional sessions of yoga once a week.
Silence and renunciation are at the heart of any IMS retreat, and a sincere commitment to honoring them has a direct and profound bearing on our deepening in meditation. The teachers of this retreat request, for the sake of your practice and your fellow retreatants’ practice, that you participate in the entire course, without leaving and returning (except in the case of emergencies or medical needs).
An intensive silent meditation course such as this can be a positive and life-transforming experience. At the same time, the practice can be strenuous and requires some stability of physical and psychological health.
If you have recently experienced considerable trauma, significant depression or anxiety, or are currently experiencing strong PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), a silent retreat of this length may not be appropriate for you at this time in your life. Shorter retreats or daily life practice may be more beneficial meanwhile. To help you assess this, we urge you to discuss your situation with a therapist. Please contact our registration department if you have any questions or concerns.
The teachers also request that you agree, on registering, to refrain from using cell phones and other communication devices, for the duration of the course. This includes phone calls, emails, texts and other internet use. (Please notify our Front Office if arrangements need to be made for messages to reach you 24/7 from dependent or fragile family members. You can reach our staff at 978-355-4378 or at email@example.com.)
To further protect your retreat time, please also make sure that you schedule any medical appointments, fill prescriptions, and take care of financial or other arrangements before your course gets underway.
Prerequisite is two silent retreats of a week or more with recognized insight meditation teachers. Please document this experience, including teachers’ names, dates and length of courses when registering. You will also need to submit a questionnaire when signing up – your course participation cannot be confirmed until this is received and approved.
Special fees and deadlines apply for cancellations or confirmed date changes: up to August 29, 2018, $100; afterwards, $250 . Please note that transferring from one part of the course to another – i.e. any date change within this three-month period – is only possible if space is available; otherwise, you will be placed on a wait list.
Rebecca Bradshaw is the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley, MA. She leads vipassana retreats, including Spanish language courses, emphasizing embodied clarity and kindness. She holds a master's degree in counseling psychology, and also serves as an IMS guiding teacher.
Listen to one of Rebecca's talks: Clinging and Non-Clinging given at IMS on November 7, 2014 – 62 minutes, 43 MB Download
Greg Scharf has practiced with Western and Asian teachers in the Theravada tradition since 1992. He has been teaching residential retreats since 2007, including the annual Three-Month Retreat at IMS, where he is a core teacher. He also serves as an IMS guiding teacher.
Listen to one of Greg's talks: Walking the Path given at IMS on September 20, 2015 – 50 minutes, 37.6 MB Download
Winnie Nazarko started dharma practice 35 years ago, asking, "Why does there have to be suffering in the world?" She teaches to help individuals realize their full potential for clarity, balance, kindness and wisdom.
Listen to one of Winnie's talks: Seeing the Good given at IMS on November 11, 2011 – 55 minutes, 37.8 MB Download
Brian Lesage has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism since 1988. He has taught meditation across the US since 2000 and currently teaches nationwide in the vipassana (insight) tradition. He also has a private Somatic Experiencing® practice.
Listen to one of Brian's talks: Being Somebody and Being Nobody given at IMS on November 25, 2014 – 53 minutes, 36.4 MB Download
DaRa Williams has practiced vipassana meditation for 25 years and serves as an IMS guiding teacher. She is also a certified coordinating trainer for Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Complex Trauma Therapy and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in the New York City area. "It is my experience that meditation and the Dharma are ideal for transforming suffering. Awareness, wisdom and a compassionate heart become the vehicle for transformation, connection and freedom."
Jill Shepherd sat her first insight meditation retreat in Thailand in 1999. She currently divides her time between the US, Australia and New Zealand, teaching residential retreats and supporting local communities to explore the Dharma in daily life.
Listen to one of Jill's talks: Dukkha, and the Ending of Dukkah, given at IMS on December 3, 2017 – 61 minutes, 41.8 MB Download
Dawn Scott has been practicing insight meditation since 2008, is a Diamond Heart practitioner, and currently serves as the Family Program Coordinator at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She teaches teen retreats at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) and is a participant in the 2017-2021 IMS Teacher Training Program.
Tara Mulay is a co-founder of San Francisco People of Color Insight Meditation Group and a leader of Mission Dharma. She has practiced insight meditation since 2003 and undertaken intensive retreat periods in the US and Myanmar. She has participated in Spirit Rock's latest Community Dharma Leaders Program and is now a trainee in the 2017-2021 IMS Teacher Training Program.