October 1, 2015

Sangha News – October 2015

In This Issue

This fall issue announces our 40th anniversary next year, and to celebrate this milestone, we invite you to send us a brief video clip. Below, you’ll also find highlights of a memorial ceremony for teacher Ruth Denison, news of funding for longer-term practice, and photos of the new Retreat Center dining area. We’re offering our latest wallpaper image, three new recipes, info on fellowships for educators, and updates on IMS teachers. As well, you can check out retreat space available, and an important job opening.

Vibrant colors on Gaston Pond
Vibrant fall colors surround nearby Gaston Pond.

On the Horizon – Our 40th Birthday

2016 will mark a significant milestone – we’ll be celebrating IMS’s 40th anniversary!

It’s quite amazing to reflect that, for almost four decades, streams of retreatants from all over the world have found their way to this refuge to practice the Buddha’s teachings of freedom.

We began as a small pioneering endeavor in the mid-1970s, at a time when meditation was considered a fringe activity.

Now, many of our teachers and meditators are influential voices within today’s burgeoning mindfulness movement. And IMS itself is often regarded as the mother-ship of contemporary Western insight meditation centers.

Sayadaw at IMS in 1979
Renowned Burmese meditation master Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw presided over a teaching authorization ceremony at IMS in 1979. Back row: Mahasi Sayadaw (C) and his monks. Front row (L-R): IMS’s three founders Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, and Jacqueline Mandell-Schwartz.

Seeking Your Participation

To honor our 40th anniversary, we’re starting to produce several videos that will be released throughout 2016, and we’re inviting you to participate in their creation! We’re seeking short clips from individuals or groups in our community, each expressing something heartfelt about IMS.

You might like to offer a sentence that captures what this spiritual center means to you. Or, you can tell a brief inspiring anecdote from retreat time here, deliver a humorous message, or simply say what you love about IMS.

It’s easy to take part. Simply shoot the footage, 10-15 seconds max, in a horizontal or wide frame orientation (not vertical or tall frame). A smartphone or tablet is fine for this – you don’t have to worry about using more substantial equipment. Then email your message to 40th@dharma.org, and we’ll take it from there.

Some of the submitted footage will be woven into our videos. And other clips will be shared at various times during the year via our social media, website, or in upcoming issues of Sangha News.

Celebrating Ruth Denison

In September, teachers and staff gathered at IMS’s Memorial Wall at the Forest Refuge to honor the life of beloved dharma elder Ruth Denison, who passed away last February.

Ruth Denison
Ruth Denison
Memorial Stone for Ruth Denison
(L) An engraved memorial stone has been placed along IMS’s Memorial Wall, and some of Ruth’s ashes now lie beneath it. She had chosen this spot several years ago. (R) At the start of the ceremony, a procession of teachers and staff, led by Joseph Goldstein, walked to the wall.

Funding for POC and Young Adults for Longer-Term Practice Funding

Thanks to generous gifts, we’re happy to once again offer financial support to a number of experienced people of color (POC) meditators and young adults (18-32 year olds) who’d like to practice longer-term at IMS next year.

This opportunity forms part of our broader vision to develop more leaders of color within our North American insight community, and to ensure leadership among the next generation of Buddhist meditators.

This funding is in addition to our ongoing program of financial assistance, which annually supports about a third of our retreatants.

For people of color who are unable to afford IMS’s usual fees, we’re offering a reduced rate to participate in Part 1 or Part 2 of the 2016 Three-Month Retreat. A reduced rate is also available for one month of personal retreat next year at our Forest Refuge.

For 18-32 year olds who are unable to afford IMS’s usual fees, a similar reduced rate is available to participate in Part 1 or Part 2 of next year’s Three-Month Retreat.

Fees are on a You Choose basis. This means you can establish the rate you are able to pay, at or above $17 per night.

Details about how to apply can be found here. Please help spread the word.

New Dining Area

Last week, work was completed on two improvements to our Retreat Center dining room – an indoor extension and an attached deck.

Retreatants are now enjoying the new light-filled dining area, which has eased traffic flow and provides more seating. It also features an additional tea station which is accessible for those using wheelchairs.

In warmer weather, the deck will be a lovely spot for drinking tea and taking meals, as well as for outdoor walking practice.

The final step will be to install an acoustical ceiling treatment in the main dining room to soften sounds on opening and closing days. We anticipate finishing this in the new year.

Much appreciation for the generosity that made this project possible.

Retreat Center Dining Room Extension
The new Retreat Center dining room extension.
New Deck at IMS
The beautiful new deck.

From the Kitchen Recipes

Three more nourishing vegetarian recipes have been uploaded to our website: Ratatouille, Tassajara Nutloaf and Minestrone Soup. Delicious additions to your home menu. Enjoy!

Fellowship for Educators

Are you involved in the education field? Do you aspire to promote a positive school culture through embodying the qualities of mindfulness, compassion, personal well-being and professional efficacy?

If so, a generous grant from the Hemera Foundation is allowing IMS to once again offer fellowships for educators at our Retreat Center in 2016. These will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hemera’s Contemplative Fellowships are open to teachers and staff currently employed in a pre-K program or K-12 school, or to anyone currently enrolled in a Masters of Education program. If you meet these qualifications and would like to pursue this opportunity, please consider applying.

For more information, click here.

If you know others who might be interested, please pass on this news.

Fellowships Available Oct 2015

10% Happier App Available

ABC anchor Dan Harris and IMS co-founder Joseph Goldstein have designed a short meditation course in the form of an app. Titled 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, the app is an effective, two-week introduction to practice, and features guided meditations from Joseph. Access it online or download it from the iTunes store.

You can watch the official ABC launch of the app to learn more about this program.

If you know anyone who might enjoy learning about meditation or refreshing their practice in this way, please share this helpful resource. Some of the proceeds will be donated to IMS.

Street Lovingkindness

IMS co-founder Sharon Salzberg is creating a series of videos marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of her first title, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Each short clip offers meditation support and guidance as we navigate the busyness of our daily lives.

The latest video in this #StreetLovingkindness series is Blowing Bubbles.

In addition, Happify has released an animated video narrated by Sharon, Where Does Compassion Really Come From?

Christina Feldman’s Keynote

In July, IMS Guiding Teacher Christina Feldman gave the keynote address at a UK conference organized by The Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice. Titled “Contemporary Mindfulness – The Long View: Perils and Possibilities in the Path of Mindfulness Teaching,” you can watch her presentation here. (Shared with permission)

Questions Along the Path

Neuroscientist, philosopher, author and meditator Sam Harris recently invited Joseph Goldstein back for a second conversation, this time to answer a range of questions about the path of practice. Listen here.

The Mindfulness Summit

For the rest of October you can access the free online event, The Mindfulness Summit, and hear talks by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, as well as other dharma teachers and leaders in the mindfulness field.

Program Highlights

At the Forest Refuge, retreatants have been deepening their practice as the surrounding woods and countryside take on rich autumn colors.

Genoud-Feldman and Nugent
(L-R) Patricia Genoud-Feldman and Annie Nugent capably guided practitioners in September.
Rose and Baumann offering teachings
Throughout October, (L-R) Marcia Rose and Ariya B. Baumann are offering the teachings.

At the Retreat Center, the summer program featured retreats that varied in theme and length.

IMS's second LGBTQI course
In July, IMS’s second course for our LGBTQI community was taught by Arinna Weisman (2nd from R) and Jean Esther (R), with John Martin (L) assisting and Leslie Booker offering yoga.
Your Life is Your Practice retreat
The teaching team for the Your Life Is Your Practice retreat in August was led by Narayan Liebenson and George Mumford (both C), assisted by Alexis Santos (L). Éowyn Ahlstrom (R) provided mindful yoga sessions.
Labor Day weekend course
(L-R) Anushka Fernandopulle and Pascal Auclair taught the Labor Day weekend course, Uncovering Innate Freedom.
IMS annual three month retreat
In September, the annual Three-Month Retreat got underway with Part 1 teachers (L-R) Kate Munding (assistant), Kamala Masters, Sally Armstrong, Greg Scharf, Andrea Fella and Guy Armstrong. This unique opportunity for long-term practice has been part of IMS’s annual schedule since our founding.

Retreat Space Available

If you are an experienced meditator, consider applying for a personal retreat at the Forest Refuge. A stay here can help strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance.

For more information, please email or call us at 978-355-2063.

Visit our Audio page to download or stream recent Forest Refuge teacher talks.

Golden yarrow flower at the Forest Refuge

At the Retreat Center, check out our early 2016 courses. Winter is an especially beautiful time to explore the mind and heart, as the quiet of the natural world supports our silent practice.

First up is Joy on the Path, a five-day retreat with Pascal Auclair and Lila Kate Wheeler, January 9-14.

Lila returns to offer another five-day course, The Wisdom of Equanimity, with Winnie Nazarko, February 5-10.

This is followed by a three-day weekend, The Way of Wisdom, led by Alexis Santos and Jaya Karen Rudgard, February 12-15. During this retreat, we’ll also mark IMS’s 40th anniversary on February 14.

Later in the month, Winnie will be back to teach Establishing Presence, together with Annie Nugent, February 19 24.

If you are 18-26 years old, some spaces are available at our You Choose rate for several retreats next year. Find out more here.

Wild turkeys at IMS Retreat Center
Wild turkeys too enjoy walking the peaceful grounds around the Retreat Center.

Job Opening

IMS has an opening for the position of Facilities Manager. We’re seeking an experienced leader with a strong maintenance and building background to oversee our physical plant and supervise maintenance and housekeeping staff.

If you’re interested in working at IMS, and have the necessary skills for this position, please apply.

Also, we’d be grateful if you can pass on word of this job opportunity to others.

Wishing You Well

Here in New England we continue to gather the bounty of the harvest season. May all find nourishment, and may the fruits of our practice benefit all beings!