IMS Book Club

Each month, the IMS Book Club brings together authors and readers for a facilitated discussion on the featured dharma-book-of-the-month. Our book club offers participants a deeper experience and engagement with early Buddhist teachings and practice through the lens of the selected book.

Essential Information:

  • The IMS Book Club is entirely free of charge.
  • All Book Club meetings will be held online  through the IMS Online Learning Center.
  • Each monthly Book Club event will feature a new book and one to three group meetings, including at least one session with the author.
  • If the author/teacher does not participate in all the sessions, an insight teacher from IMS will moderate those discussions in place of the author.
  • Beyond these basic guidelines, authors will be able to tailor their book club meetings as they see fit, so the structure of book club gatherings may vary from month to month.
  • Dana:  If you enjoy this free offering and would like to give to IMS, we will include donation links when we email the video recordings of each Book Club meeting to registered members after each session. Note: authors/teachers benefit from the promotion and sale of their books. If other teachers, or assistant teachers, help support a Book Club, IMS will compensate those teachers directly for their time.

Want to Join?

To join the IMS Book Club, simply register hereYou will receive monthly invitations to sign up for the book-of-the-month discussions that interest you. Although there is no charge to join the book club, participants will need to secure their own copies of the books prior to the start of the monthly discussion group.

How Are Books Chosen? 

All titles featured in the IMS Book Club are selected by IMS staff and Guiding Teachers. Selections must align with IMS’s mission and values. Rooted in the early Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration, and wisdom, chosen titles will support the development of awareness and compassion.

2023 Schedule 

Embrace Your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success
By George Mumford

We all strive to find flow, when our skills, expertise, and mindset are aligned and we can perform, unimpeded, at the highest level. George Mumford calls this being “unlocked”—a state anyone can achieve at any time. In this life-changing guide, he shares his wisdom with all of us, no matter our background or socioeconomic status, brilliantly guiding us on a path to discovering and harnessing our own individual potential.

Full of tangible insights, unexpected ancient wisdom, and inspiring stories from his clients and his own life—from his darkest moments of addiction and inner turmoil to training some of the best athletes in the world—Unlocked is the culmination of Mumford’s life’s work; it helps us discover our gifts. To sustain success no matter the game or the stakes. To step into the power within us and embrace the freedom of being unlocked.

“Powerful lessons here for tapping into your own intrinsic capabilities and finding the confidence and clarity to let them radiate in the world in the face of the inevitable obstacles. George Mumford is a trustworthy guide when it comes to using those energies to live the life that is yours to live and thrive along the way.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

“A powerful reminder that connecting to the true essence of who we are, living it genuinely, and sharing it with others is one of the best gifts we can offer to the world. George Mumford creates a compelling and practical framework for this journey—to unlock and cultivate a peaceful and authentic flow state within ourselves and in life.” — Sharon Salzberg

Date: Tuesday, September 5, 7-8:15 PM

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A Bigger Sky
Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism
By Pamela Weiss

A Bigger Sky explores what it means to traverse the gaps of a Buddhism created by and for men, navigate the seemingly contradictory domains of secular and spiritual life, and walk a path through the heart of the world. Blending memoir, Buddhist practice, and cultural observation, Weiss reorients Buddhism through a wider and more inclusive feminine lens. Her personal and spiritual journey speaks to the bits of brokenness in us all, shining a light on the different pathways we can walk to become whole.

Through beautifully crafted prose, Weiss shares what it means to be an ordinary Bodhisattva, describing how the Buddha’s profound vision of freedom can be lived outside of institutions and rule-bound practice to support us in deepening our connection with ourselves, each other, and the planet. A Bigger Sky illuminates how integrating a more feminine approach to Buddhist teachings can be applied in spiritual practice, community, relationships, and day-to-day life.

 “We are always enriched by genuine stories of the spiritual journey. Here is strength in Zen, dedication in emergency, awakening in business— all roads to the empowerment of women.” —Jack Kornfield

“A Bigger Sky takes the reader on a profound, groundbreaking, and totally engaging journey of awakening and healing. Pamela Weiss teaches us that nothing is outside of our spiritual practice and lays out the secret of how alchemy happens and true transformation takes root.” —Kittisaro & Thanissara

Date: Thursday, September 21, 7-8:15 PM

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Finding Your Way
Meditations, Thoughts, and Wisdom for Living an Authentic Life
By Sharon Salzberg

Finding Your Way is the newest book from one of the most beloved and bestselling meditation teachers. In dozens of clear and inspiring entries, readers will be reminded that there are many ways to stay calm and move forward. From choosing to simply “do the good that is in front of you,” to reading a meaningful piece from an interview with a kind leader, to quotes from people Sharon admires, and reminders of how to practice meditation, Finding Your Way will show readers that they are always on the right path, because it is their own. Each thought, whether a single quote or a short essay, is presented in a visually calm manner, with dozens of four color illustrations to enhance and inspire the experience throughout the book.

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 7-8:15 PM

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The Experience of Samadhi
An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation
By Richard Shankman

In this clear and accessible exploration, Richard Shankman unravels the mix of differing, sometimes conflicting, views and traditional teachings on how samadhi (concentration) is understood and taught. In part one, Richard Shankman explores the range of teachings and views about samadhi in the Theravada Pali tradition, examines different approaches, and considers how they can inform and enrich our meditation practice. Part two consists of a series of interviews with prominent contemporary Theravada and Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist teachers including Pa Auk Sayadaw, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, and Christina Feldman. These discussions focus on the practical experience of samadhi, bringing the theoretical to life and offering a range of applications of the different meditation techniques.

“The Experience of Samadhi provides a wonderfully broad overview of the role of concentration in Buddhist meditation as well as in-depth exploration of meditative experience. This book is a valuable and inspiring resource.” —Joseph Goldstein

“A balanced, intelligent, and indispensable guide to the range of Buddhist teachings on samadhi. Written by an accomplished meditator.” —Gil Fronsdal

Date: Thursday, October 19, 7-8:30 PM

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Home is Here
Practicing Antiracism with the Engaged Eightfold Path
By Liên Shutt

Home is Here builds on foundational Buddhist teachings–the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path–offering an intersectional frame to help practitioners embody antiracist practices and tend to their own healing under racism and oppression.

Grounded in practice, memoir, and mindful self-help skill-building, Rev. Liên Shutt’s Engaged Four Noble Truths illuminate a path toward healing and liberation. While written mainly for Asian American Buddhists and other BIPOC practitioners, Home is Here moves us all from knowing and contemplation to a place of action and wholeness. In the doing is the realization, and in practicing antiracism, we build a home for all beings.

“Having known Reverend Shutt for more than twenty years, it gives me an inspired joy that she has offered a path… a journey… a practice, in the broadest sense of the word, through the suffering of oppression and supremacy that is endemic in our world. In that way, she has shown that the suffering, the way through the suffering, and the teachings are universal—and how to use our specific social locations for the benefit of the greater whole, without being used by them.”—Larry Yang

“This book will benefit everyone! Presenting a powerful and fresh look at core Buddhist teachings, it offers innovative and effective ways to free ourselves from the bondage and illusions of white supremacy culture and a compassionate, accessible path to experiencing that we are already whole.”—Kaira Jewel Lingo

Date: Thursday, November 2, 7-8:15 PM

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Noble Truths, Noble Path
The Heart Essence of the Buddha’s Original Teachings
By Bhikkhu Bodhi

Brilliantly translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi, this anthology of suttas from the Samyutta Nikaya takes us straight to the heart of the Buddha’s teaching on liberation through the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path—the two mainstays of Buddhist doctrine that illuminate the nature of things by generating direct insight into the teachings. These suttas all pertain to the ultimate good, the attainment of nibbana, or liberation. They illuminate the Buddha’s radical diagnosis of the human condition—and more broadly, the condition of all sentient existence—in light of the four noble truths. They underscore the pervasive flaws inherent in the round of rebirths, trace our existential predicament to its deepest roots, and lay out the path to unraveling our bondage and winning irreversible release.

Ven. Bodhi arranged the chapters, each with its own introduction, to provide an overview of the Dhamma that mirrors the four noble truths, thus enabling students of Early Buddhism to see into the heart of the Buddha’s teachings as directly and clearly as possible.

“With his intimate knowledge of the suttas and a heartfelt wish for the welfare of beings, Bhikkhu Bodhi has crafted an anthology that takes us straight to the heart of the Buddha’s teachings, then leads us with great skill into their depths.”—Anandabodhi Bhikkhuni

“This humble volume maps the terrain that forms the context for the entire Buddhadhamma. It is thus a precious and reliable guide to a vast spiritual domain, and I cannot recommend it too highly.”—Ven. Ajahn Amaro, Abbot, Amaravati Buddhi

Date: Wednesday, November 8, 7-8 PM

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Your Heart Was Made for This
Contemplative Practices for Meeting a World in Crisis with Courage, Integrity, and Love
By Oren Jay Sofer

Meditation teacher Oren Jay Sofer shares a pragmatic guide to living a life of meaning and purpose in a time of great social, environmental, and spiritual upheaval. Through touching stories, insightful reflections, and concrete instructions, Sofer offers powerful tools to strengthen our hearts and nourish the qualities that can transform our world. Each chapter guides you to cultivate a quality essential to personal and social transformation like mindfulness, resolve, wonder, and empathy.

“In Your Heart Was Made for This, Oren Jay Sofer offers a beautiful and poignant invitation to meet the crises of our current world and communities with the power of contemplative practice, which helps us to acknowledge the pain that we are all experiencing and reveals how we can respond directly with awareness and tenderness.”—Lama Rod Owens

 “Using the Buddha’s teachings, coupled with skillful activism, Sofer outlines how we can all access a deep well of energy and resilience to support us in engaging with our most pressing challenges. This is the book we need right now to help heal the planet and care for one another.”—Sharon Salzberg

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 7-8:15 PM

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Previous IMS Book Club Authors Include

  • Sharon Salzberg
  • Gregory Kramer
  • Rodney Smith
  • Joseph Goldstein
  • Sebene Selassie
  • Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Ruth King, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Kamilah Majied, Gyozan Royce Andrew Johnson
  • Judson Brewer
  • Narayan Helen Liebenson
  • Chenxing Han
  • Mark Coleman
  • Kaira Jewel Lingo
  • George Mumford
  • Mark Epstein
  • Rhonda V. Magee
  • Martin Aylward
  • Dan Harris
  • Kate Johnson
  • Guy Armstrong
  • Jacoby Ballard
  • Allan Cooper
  • Christina Feldman
  • Rima Vesely-Flad
  • Amita Schmidt
  • Shaila Catherine
  • Valerie Brown
  • yung pueblo
  • John Teasdale
  • Kimberly Brown