September 28, 2023

Handing Down the Stories of our Teachers’ Teachers

IMS Partners with the Canadian Prairie Sangha to Preserve the Stories of Our Lineage Holders

First-hand stories of Asian Buddhist meditation masters are a precious gift that a few North American insight teachers have shared for decades.

A new online series, Lineage Stories, offered by IMS Online and five Canadian Prairie sanghas, seeks to preserve our teachers’ stories about the Asian teachers with whom they studied. The series begins on October 12 with IMS co-founders Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg discussing Munindra-ji, Dipa Ma, Mahasi Sayadaw, and others.

“We wanted to honor the Asian roots of this practice and create something that had the sense of the teachings being handed down from generation to generation,” explains Jeanne Corrigal, who helped organize the series. “We wanted people to be able to hear these stories as close to the source as possible, now, while they still can. And we thought the storytelling format would work best since it is a traditional and powerful way of hearing the Dharma.”

Jeanne, who is the Guiding Teacher of the Saskatoon Insight Meditation Community, and an IMS teacher, conceived of the project in partnership with four other Canadian Prairie sanghas across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Jeanne is also a member of the mixed heritage Métis Nation, one of three Indigenous communities recognized in Canada, for whom the storytelling tradition is an important part of their culture.

“We can lose sight of where these teachings came from,” said Jeanne. “So, it’s important for current practitioners to be able to hear from the teachers who trained with our Asian ancestors, particularly for students who are a long way from the big meditation centers.”

The impetus for the series was to give practitioners living on the Canadian Prairie more access to the teachers who trained with early Buddhism’s lineage holders. “But, of course, our teachers are everyone’s teachers,” said Jeanne. “So, we’re happy to have this valuable collaboration with IMS Online.”

These first-hand stories inspire one’s practice and desire to share the Dharma. “If we have a stronger connection to the roots of the practice, we’ll feel more committed to it in our own hearts and grounded in carrying it forward,” said Jeanne.

The intention is to make this an annual series with programs in every season, spanning the next three (or more) years. The series schedule is:

A visual tool showing the various lineages will be created as part of the series. After each program concludes, the lineages discussed will be added to the visual aid as a reference for participants and others. The visual lineage will live permanently on the Canadian Prairie Sangha website along with the recordings from the series. These recordings will also be available through and the IMS Online website for a limited time.

A Note on the Canadian Prairie Sangha

The Dharma has been in Chinese Canadian communities on the Canadian Prairie since about 1885. More recently, other Buddhist communities, including those from Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Tibet have also been established.

The early Buddhist Theravada tradition as taught through IMS began on the Canadian Prairies about 30 years ago, taking root across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. During the pandemic, sanghas in Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon grew their connection and now consider themselves part of the larger community of the Canadian Prairie Sangha.


To learn more and enroll in the Lineage Stories series click here.