IMS Book Club

Introducing the 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  via Union and Zoom.
  • 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.

2021-2022 Schedule 

Real Change
Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World
By Sharon Salzberg

This winter, Sharon Salzberg’s Real Change releases in paperback, and to mark the occasion, the IMS Book Club will hold a special, one-night meeting with Sharon to discuss her book on January 10.

In this roadmap for engaging in challenging times with clarity, calm, and heartfulness, Sharon teaches us that meditation is not a replacement for taking action, but rather a way to practice generosity with ourselves and summon the courage to break through boundaries, reconnect to a movement that’s bigger than ourselves, and have the energy to stay active. Consulting with veteran activists and social change agents in a variety of fields, Sharon collects and shares their wisdom and offers the best practical advice to foster transformation in both ourselves and in society.

“Inspiring, loving and empowering. The perfect medicine for these difficult times.”—Jack Kornfield

Date: Monday, January 10, at 7 PM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here. 

The Zen of Therapy
Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life
By Mark Epstein, M.D.

For years, Dr. Mark Epstein kept his beliefs as a Buddhist separate from his work as a psychiatrist. Content to use his training in mindfulness as a private resource, he trusted that the Buddhist influence could, and should, remain invisible. But as he became more forthcoming with his patients about his personal spiritual leanings, he was surprised to learn how many were eager to learn more. The divisions between the psychological, emotional, and the spiritual, he soon realized, were not as distinct as one might think.

In The Zen of Therapy, Dr. Epstein reflects on a year’s worth of selected sessions with his patients and observes how, in the incidental details of a given hour, his Buddhist background influences the way he works. Meditation and psychotherapy each encourage a willingness to face life’s difficulties with courage that can be hard to otherwise muster, and in this cross-section of life in his office, he emphasizes how therapy, an element of Western medicine, can in fact be considered a two-person meditation. Mindfulness, too, much like a good therapist, can “hold” our awareness for us—and allow us to come to our senses and find inner peace.

Date: Tuesday, January 25, at 7 PM ET.

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here.

The Inner Work of Racial Justice
Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness
By Rhonda V. Magee

Law professor and mindfulness practitioner Rhonda Magee shows that the work of racial justice begins with ourselves. When conflict and division are everyday realities, our instincts tell us to close ranks, to find the safety of our own tribe, and to blame others. The practice of embodied mindfulness–paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in an open, nonjudgmental way–increases our emotional resilience, helps us to recognize our unconscious bias, and gives us the space to become less reactive and to choose how we respond to injustice.

It is only by healing from injustices and dissolving our personal barriers to connection that we develop the ability to view others with compassion and to live in community with people of vastly different backgrounds and viewpoints. Incorporating mindfulness exercises, research, and Magee’s hard-won insights, The Inner Work of Racial Justice offers a road map to a more peaceful world.

Dates: Tuesdays, February 8, 15, and 22, at 7 PM ET.

For more information and to register for the meetings, click here.

Awake Where You Are
The Art of Embodied Awareness
By Martin Aylward

Pulled around by desires and distractions, we’re so easily disconnected from ourselves. Life is happening right in front of us, and within us—but still, we manage to miss so much of it.

Awake Where You Are provides the antidote, inviting us to go deep into our own bodies, to inhabit our sensory experience carefully; to learn the art of living from the inside out, and in the process to find ease, clarity, and an authentic, unshakeable freedom.

The practices in the book literally bring us back into our skin, where we can reconnect with a more rich, meaningful, and peaceful life. Aylward writes with sophisticated subtlety, as well as the heart-opening simplicity and clarity born of deep experience.

More than a meditation guide, this book is a guide to living an embodied life.

“Martin is a marvelous teacher and offers us the refreshing wisdom of an embodied life.”—Jack Kornfield, author of No Time Like the Present

Dates: Sundays, March 13 & 27, at 11 AM ET.

For more information and to register for the meetings, click here.

10% Happier
How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story
Fifth Anniversary Edition
By Dan Harris

After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hypercompetitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

Finally, Harris stumbled upon an effective way to rein in that voice, something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation, a tool that research suggests can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain. 10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

Date: Monday, April 4, at 7 PM ET.

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here.

Radical Friendship
Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Find Your People in an Unjust World
By Kate Johnson
Grounded in the Buddha’s teachings on spiritual friendship, Radical Friendship shares seven strategies to help us embody our deepest values in all of our relationships.Drawing on her experiences as a leading meditation teacher, as well as personal stories of growing up multiracial in a racist world, Kate Johnson brings a fresh take on time-honored wisdom to help us connect more authentically with ourselves, with our friends and family, and within our communities.The divides we experience within us and between us are not only a threat to our physical and emotional health — they are also the weapons and the outcomes of structural oppression. But through wise relationships, it is possible to transform the barriers created by societal injustice. Johnson leads us on a journey to becoming a better friend by offering ways to show up for our own and each other’s liberation at every stage of a relationship. Each chapter ends with a meditation or reflection practice to help readers cultivate vibrant, harmonious, revolutionary friendships. Radical Friendship offers a path of depth and hope and shows us the importance of working towards collective wellbeing, one relationship at a time.


Dates: Tuesdays, April 5, 12, and 19, at 8 PM ET.

For more information and to register for the meetings, click here.

Emptiness
A Practical Guide for Meditators
By Guy Armstrong

It may seem odd for emptiness to serve as the central philosophy of a major religion. In fact, emptiness points to something quite different than “nothingness” or “vacancy.” And by developing a richer understanding of this complex topic, we can experience freedom as we live consciously in the world.

Guy Armstrong has been a leading figure and beloved teacher of insight meditation for decades. In this book, he makes difficult Buddhist topics easy to understand, weaving together Theravada and Mahayana teachings on emptiness to show how we can liberate our minds and manifest compassion in our lives.

“For anyone seeking to understand emptiness, this is a clear and fine guidebook, with precise and practical ways to explore and deepen your practice.”―Jack Kornfield

Date: Monday, May 2, 7-8:15 PM.

For more information and to register for this free offering, click here.

A Queer Dharma
Yoga and Meditations for Liberation
By Jacoby Ballard

Jacoby Ballard provides an empowering and affirming guide to embodied healing through yoga and the Dharma, grounded in the brilliance, resilience, and lived experiences of queer folks.

In his book, A Queer Dharma, Jacoby offers a queer-centered, fully embodied, and equity-rooted practice with meditations, practices, and sequences for processing and healing from trauma individually and in community. He explains concepts like lovingkindness, letting go, compassion, joy, forgiveness, and equanimity through a queer lens, and pairs each with corresponding meditations, practices, and beautiful line drawings of queer bodies.

Enhanced with stories from Ballard’s personal practice and professional experience teaching yoga in schools, prisons, conferences, and his weekly Queer and Trans Yoga class, A Queer Dharma is a guidebook, reclamation, and unapologetically queer heart offering for true healing and transformation.

Date: Thursday, June 16 , 7-8:15 PM.

For more information and to register for this free offering, click here.

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