Forest Refuge Schedule 2020

IMS’s Forest Refuge program supports experienced meditators in sustained, longer-term retreat practice. A personal retreat, under the guidance of the following teachers, helps strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance.

Please note

  • A self-sustaining practice is necessary to undertake a Forest Refuge retreat.
  • The teaching schedule may change without notice. It is our intention that retreatants will have the opportunity to practice with a variety of experienced and well-qualified insight meditation teachers.
  • When retreat space is limited, priority will be given to those applying for longer stays.
  • Before you apply, please make sure you meet the Forest Refuge application requirements. We recommend that candidates have participated in at least one six-week structured and teacher-led insight meditation retreat, or six similar one-week retreats.

Supporting our teachers

Here at IMS, our teachers are continuing the ancient Buddhist monastic tradition of freely offering the teachings while living in the midst of contemporary society. What this means is that they rely on the generosity of retreat participants for a sustainable income.

There is an opportunity at the end of your personal retreat to make an offering to teachers – this is known as teacher dana. At the Forest Refuge, where retreatants often stay for long periods, IMS supplements teacher dana as needed to provide an adequate offering.

Your contributions help teachers to lead a life devoted to teaching both at IMS and in other parts of the world, including communities without the means to donate. Your gifts also allow teachers to take time for their own practice, ensuring that their teachings are continuously enriched.

For availability of specific dates, call 978-355-2063 or email fr@dharma.org.
Wait List
Wait lists often move quickly, so consider registering even if a retreat is full!
January 1–31, 2020

Sayadaw U Jagara & Shaila Catherine

Cultivating Precision Without Tension


This retreat will investigate how a correct observation of our manifold experiences gives rise to wisdom and courage. We need these qualities to fully engage in life, and to cultivate a clear, happy and peaceful mind.


Throughout this month, we will have the opportunity to sharpen our observation skills. We will explore Buddhist texts to clarify and guide our efforts and mindfulness. On the “mind-side,” we will consciously cultivate the inner conditioning factors needed in meditation, mainly based on the Maha Cattarisaka Sutta (MN:117). On the “objects side,” the world being explored will be the chain of psychological conditioning in the Madhupindaka Sutta (MN:18). The beginning six-day gradual training and metta (lovingkindness) format will provide the spacious ambiance for relaxed precision. Other texts will also be considered to complete our program.


Participants are expected to observe the eight precepts, if they are able to do so. Priority will be given to anyone applying for the full month of January or longer.


Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
February 1–29, 2020

Winnie Nazarko & Caroline Jones

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
March 1–31, 2020

Rebecca Bradshaw & Annie Nugent

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
April 1–30, 2020

Caroline Jones & Oren Jay Sofer

Wait List
Wait lists often move quickly, so consider registering even if a retreat is full!
May 1–31, 2020

Rodney Smith & Narayan Liebenson

The Magnanimous Heart


This monthlong course will focus on freeing awareness from the bonds of our personal narrative and mental projections. Teacher guidance will help retreatants strengthen a fearless presence that holds the entirety of life within the magnanimous heart.


Together, we will explore the spiritual path as a journey through our self-constructed identity into realms of profound stillness and contentment. This trajectory involves questioning our assumptions about the nature of the world and ourselves within it. Supported by meditative relaxation, surrender and inquiry, our subjective view becomes more conscious and softens. Our identity thins and eventually subsides, and our perceptual paradigm shifts away from seeing the world as separate subjects and objects.


This retreat is geared for the mature Dharma practitioner who is interested in integrating the deeper aspects of the Buddha’s teaching into a fully embodied spiritual life. Priority will be given to those applying for the entire month of May or longer, and for those with some familiarity with Rodney and Narayan’s teaching format. Participants are encouraged to follow the daily schedule and instructions, which will consist of both formal gatherings and independent practice times.


A lottery was conducted for this course; applications were due by June 20, 2019. This month if full, with a wait list.


Wait List
Wait lists often move quickly, so consider registering even if a retreat is full!
June 1–30, 2020

Sayadaw U Vivekananda

Satipaṭṭhāna meditation in the Burmese tradition of the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw consists of continuous mindfulness in sitting, walking and general activities. Mindfulness will be directed to the movements of the abdomen and other predominant physical and mental objects of observation. Slowing down of walking and other general activities, as well as sense restraint, support the deepening of mindfulness meditation.


The teachers will introduce the basics of the practice and offer Dhamma discourses and regular individual meetings with participants. All of this supports the development of moment-to-moment mindfulness, which leads to the arising of liberating insights.


Participants are expected to observe the eight precepts, if they are able to do so.


A lottery was conducted for this course; applications were due by July 11, 2019. This month is full, with a wait list.


Priority will be given to anyone applying for the full month of June or longer.


Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
July 1–31, 2020

Caroline Jones & Bhante Buddharakkhita

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
August 1–31, 2020

Annie Nugent & Caroline Jones

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
September 1–30, 2020

Guy Armstrong & Sally Armstrong

The Still Heart of Awareness


A lottery will be conducted for this course; applications are due by November 21, 2019.


This retreat will strengthen our understanding and experience of the nature of awareness in meditation practice. We will explore this in three stages. During the initial part of the month, we will build meditative stability through a focus on anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing). In the next phase, we will undertake intensive practice of metta (lovingkindness), allowing the beautiful and responsive qualities of heart to unfold. Then, with concentration and lovingkindness as our foundation, the last stage of the retreat will focus on specific meditative techniques that allow us to rest in the pure nature of awareness.


The teachers will offer regular meditation instructions, talks about the teachings and individual meetings. A minimum stay for the full month of September is required. Participants are expected to follow the sequence of instructions as they are given.


Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
October 1–31, 2020

Caroline Jones & Jaya Rudgard

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
November 1–30, 2020

Caroline Jones & Jill Shepherd

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
December 1–31, 2020

Winnie Nazarko & Caroline Jones