Forest Refuge Schedule 2019

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
Wait List
Wait lists often move quickly, so consider registering even if a retreat is full!
October 1 – October 31, 2019

Thanissara & Kittisaro

A lottery was conducted for personal retreats during this time; applications were due by September 3, 2018.

This month of practice will emphasize the teachings and practices of early Buddhism, especially those of the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. In addition, there will be a focus on the teachings of Master Hsuan Hua from the later Chinese Tradition. Throughout the month there will be an interweaving of both of these streams of practice, co-informing each other and presenting an integrated whole.

The first half of the retreat will focus on cultivating embodied samadhi – calming and unifying the mind/heart/body energies. This leads into the wisdom practices – vipassana – and an exploration of the relationship between calm and insight as foundations for realization of the deathless Dharma.

The second half of the month will emphasize emptiness and compassion, emerging from and supported by the first part of the retreat. There will be an exploration of the Bodhisattva Way through the cultivation of the Kuan Yin dharmas. The Bodhisattva heart balances “letting go” practices with “picking up” a skillful and compassionate relationship to the world. The archetype of compassionate wisdom in later Buddhism is Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, the One Who Listens to the Sounds of the World at Ease.

Every morning there will be a bowing, sitting and chanting session.

The practice of chanting, mantras and ceremony is an area of Buddhist practice which is often challenging for Westerners, and therefore sometimes dismissed or overlooked. While we encourage each retreatant to find a relationship with the teachings and practices in a way that honors their own process, we request that these practices are engaged with as fully as possible as part of the overall commitment entering this month-long retreat.

A minimum stay for the full month of October is required.

Registration is still open for this retreat!
November 1 – November 30, 2019

Caroline Jones & Jill Shepherd

Still available: 7- day retreats in early November

Registration is still open for this retreat!
December 1 – December 31, 2019

Caroline Jones & Shaila Catherine