Forest Refuge Schedule: 2018-2019

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.

Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
October 1 – November 5

Marcia Rose & Caroline Jones

Wait List
Wait lists often move quickly, so consider registering even if a retreat is full!
November 6 – December 4

Ajahn Sucitto

A lottery was conducted for personal retreats during this time; applications for the lottery were due by July 26, 2017. Priority was given to anyone applying for Ajahn’s entire teaching period or longer. Participants are expected to follow his schedule and instructions, which include observance of the eight precepts.
Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
December 5 – December 31

Caroline Jones & Jill Shepherd

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

Annie Nugent & Caroline Jones

Arrivals and departures are not possible January 23–29, 2019.
Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
February 1 – February 28, 2019

Marcia Rose & Winnie Nazarko

Samatha/Concentration Retreat—The focus of the teachings throughout this month will be on samatha (concentration) practice. Anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) and/or metta(lovingkindness) instructions will be offered. The daily schedule will include sitting and walking meditation periods, with individual variations set in consultation with the teachers.

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

After leading retreats at IMS for almost 30 years, Marcia Rose will be retiring in 2019. This will be her final IMS teaching session.
Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
March 1 – March 31, 2019

Rebecca Bradshaw & Alexis Santos

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

Annie Nugent & Caroline Jones

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

Ajahn Sucitto

A lottery was conducted for personal retreats during this time; applications were due by June 5, 2018. Priority was given to anyone applying for the full month of May or longer. There is a very long waiting list for this.

Participants are expected to follow Ajahn’s schedule and instructions, and to observe the eight precepts if they are able to do so.
Wait List
Wait lists often move quickly, so consider registering even if a retreat is full!
June 1 – June 30, 2019

Guy Armstrong & Sally Armstrong

A lottery was conducted for personal retreats during this time; applications were due by July 25, 2018. Priority was given to anyone applying for the full month or longer. There is a very long waiting list.

The Still Heart of Awareness—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 June is required. Participants are expected to follow the sequence of instructions as they are given. A lottery was conducted for this course; applications were due by July 25, 2018.
Open
Registration is still open for this retreat!
July 1 – July 31, 2019

Caroline Jones & Deborah Ratner Helzer

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

Annie Nugent & Caroline Jones

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

Greg Scharf & Caroline Jones

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. There is an extremely long waiting list for this.

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

Caroline Jones & Jill Shepherd

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

Caroline Jones & Shaila Catherine