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 Schedule 

The Experience of Insight
A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation
By Joseph Goldstein

On January 1, the IMS Book Club will launch a free online 30-Day Meditation Challenge! Join us for daily practice based on The Experience of Insight—the first book by IMS co-founder Joseph Goldstein, recently re-released by Shambhala Publications.

Originally published in 1976, The Experience of Insight offers a simple and direct guide to Buddhist meditation in the format of a 30-day meditation retreat.

Following the path offered by Joseph and Sharon Salzberg during their first monthlong retreat in Sequioa National Forest more than forty years ago, the book—and the 30-Day Meditation Challenge—includes meditation instructions, dharma talks, commonly asked questions, and references to other spiritual traditions that help to deepen one’s understanding of the practices and their meaning.

Our 30-Day Meditation Challenge begins at 11:00 AM EST on January 1, 2021, with instructions from Joseph on starting, maintaining, and deepening a daily meditation practice.

Over the following 30 days, IMS teacher Jozen Tamori Gibson will lead guided online meditations each day from 9:00-9:15 AM EST, beginning each session with instructions and a reflection from the book.

The Meditation Challenge will last for 30 days to help you establish your practice in the new year and to complete all 30 chapters of The Experience of Insight; one for each day day of practice.

Every week, Joseph Goldstein will offer words of encouragement and inspiration to help support you on the journey.

Dates: January 1, 11 AM EST (Joseph Goldstein), followed by 15-minute daily sits from January 2-31, 9 AM.

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


You Belong 
A Call for Connection 
By Sebene Selassie

With Yong Oh

You are not separate. You never were. You never will be.

We are not separate from each other. But we don’t always believe it, and we certainly don’t always practice it. In fact, we often practice the opposite—disconnection and domination. From unconscious bias to “cancel culture,” denial of our inherent interconnection limits our own freedom.

In You Belong, much-admired meditation expert Sebene Selassie reveals that accepting our belonging is the key to facing the many challenges currently impacting our world. Using ancient philosophy, multidisciplinary research, exquisite storytelling, and razor-sharp wit, Selassie leads us in an exploration of all the ways we separate (and thus suffer) and offers a map back to belonging.

Dates: February 9, 16, and 23, at 7 PM ET.

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

Black and Buddhist
What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom
Edited by Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Cheryl A. Giles

with Kaira Jewel Lingo

What does it mean to be Black and Buddhist? In this powerful collection of writings, African American teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions tell their stories of how race and Buddhist practice have intersected in their lives. The resulting explorations display not only the promise of Buddhist teachings to empower those facing racial discrimination but also the way that Black Buddhist voices are enriching the Dharma for all practitioners. As the first anthology comprised solely of writings by African-descended Buddhist practitioners, this book is an important contribution to the development of the Dharma in the West.

With contributions by Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, Cheryl A. Giles, Gyōzan Royce Andrew Johnson, Ruth King, Kamilah Majied, Lama Rod Owens, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Sebene Selassie, and Pamela Ayo Yetunde.

*New Meeting Dates
March 24, 7-8:30 PM ET:  Ruth King and Kamilah Majied with Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Kaira Jewel Lingo
March 31, 7-8:30 PM ET: Gyozan Royce Johnson and Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips
with Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Kaira Jewel Lingo

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

Unwinding Anxiety
New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind 
By Judson Brewer, MD, PhD

We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. But in this timely book, Judson Brewer explains how to uproot anxiety at its source using brain-based techniques and small hacks accessible to anyone.

We think of anxiety as everything from mild unease to full-blown panic. But it’s also what drives the addictive behaviors and bad habits we use to cope (e.g. stress eating, procrastination, doom scrolling and social media). Plus, anxiety lives in a part of the brain that resists rational thought. So we get stuck in anxiety habit loops that we can’t think our way out of or use willpower to overcome. Dr. Brewer teaches us map our brains to discover our triggers, defuse them with the simple but powerful practice of curiosity, and to train our brains using mindfulness and other practices that his lab has proven can work.

Dates: Tuesdays, April 6, 13, and 20, at 7 PM ET.

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

The Magnanimous Heart
Compassion and Love, Loss and Grief, Joy and Liberation
By Narayan Helen Liebenson

The magnanimous heart is a heart of balance and buoyancy, of generosity and inclusivity. It allows us to approach each moment exactly as it is, in a fresh and alive way free from agendas and shoulds, receiving all that arises. It has the capacity to hold anything and everything, transforming even vulnerability and grief into workable assets.

In writing evocative of Pema Chödrön’s, Narayan Liebenson shows us exactly how it is possible to turn the sting and anguish of loss into a path of liberation, moving from the “constant squeeze” of suffering to a direct experience of enoughness—the deep joy, peace, and happiness within our own hearts that exists beyond mere circumstances. She teaches how to skillfully respond to painful human emotions, and teaches the art of meditative inquiry, questioning wisely—showing us how to live from a compassionate love that guides our lives and warms whatever it shines upon.

Dates: Thursdays, May 6, 13, and 20, at 7 PM ET.

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


Be the Refuge
Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists
By Chenxing Han

With Yong Oh

​A must-read for modern sanghas—Asian American Buddhists in their own words, on their own terms.

More than two thirds of U.S. Buddhists are Asian American. But you’d never guess this from mainstream representations, which all too often whitewash the racial and cultural diversity of American Buddhist communities.

Be the Refuge is both critique and celebration, countering the erasure of Asian American Buddhists while uplifting their stories and experiences. The Oriental monk, the superstitious immigrant, the banana Buddhist: dissatisfied with these tired tropes, Han asks, Will the real Asian American Buddhists please stand up? Her journey to answer this question led to in-depth interviews with a pan-ethnic, pan-Buddhist group of eighty-nine young adults.

Thursday, June 24 at 7 PM ET

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