Journal 3.4: Kind Attention to the Insight Movement, Retreat Teacher survey, Noah Levine interview, ABET teacher support fund, Community News, Retreat and event listings.
Kind Attention to the Insight Movement

In Insight practice, we bring kind attention to whatever is happening. A key aim is clear seeing -- to know things as they are in both a detailed, precise way and a broad, overarching way. This is true in our mind, and it is also true for the Insight Meditation Movement as a whole. BIN aspires to offer kind attention to the Insight Movement; its decentralized nature can leave gaps in our knowledge about what is happening.

In the last few months, we have focused our attention on the retreat teaching world and how retreat teachers are faring. BIN conducted a survey of Insight retreat teachers that garnered 104 responses, the largest and perhaps only such survey so far. The results are reported in this issue. There were two main ideas behind the survey: First was simply to generate useful and previously unknown data about current teachers and teacher trainees. This could help in assessing needs and creating plans in many areas. Second, the survey probed specifically what types of support are most needed by teachers.

BIN's survey offers a systematic view of teachers' situations with the idea that some dialogue may begin about how to address their needs in a more coordinated way. We expect this may be an extended process.

continued below.....

"What we often forget is that we have the power and ability simply to let go, and each moment of letting go is an act of mercy. The subversive act of nonclinging is an internal coup d’état."
-- Noah Levine

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InterSangha 2014
The 6th annual InterSangha meeting will be held from Aug 11-14 at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. This gathering of Insight community teachers and leaders creates shared wisdom, develops our community, and probes into the key issues for Buddhism in the West. For more information, please email

BIN Board
Kim Allen, IMC
Kristin Barker, IMCW
Gary Born, London Insight
Matthew Brensilver, Against the Stream
Andrea Castillo, IMC
Diana Clark, IMC
Wynn Fricke, Common Ground
Sumi Kim, Buddhist Families of Durham
Mary Stancavage, Against the Stream

BIN Advisors
Jack Kornfield
Sally Armstrong
James Baraz
Tara Brach
Noah Levine
Rodney Smith
Gil Fronsdal
Phillip Moffitt

Of course, versions of this same effort are happening in other places too. Another article in this issue introduces a program in New Zealand that aims to generate funds to support bringing teachers in from overseas. It highlights the ongoing process of educating practitioners about dana when it is not part of their cultural upbringing.

This issue's interview is with Noah Levine, guiding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. We learn about the formation of his unique group of centers and get a preview of his new book, Refuge Recovery.

InterSangha 2014

The issues highlighted in the BIN retreat teacher survey -- and much more -- will be addressed at this year's InterSangha meeting. The combination conference and retreat is for leaders of Insight sanghas around the West, community teachers, and retreat teachers who have an interest in the larger community of Insight. We will share practical wisdom, create community, and consider the bigger picture of our movement.

InterSangha 2014 will be held at Spirit Rock from Aug 11-14. More information will be sent in the spring. If you have questions, or if a leader in your community would like to attend but is not on our list, please contact

Welcome, Matthew and Sumi

We are delighted to to introduce two new board members to BIN. Matthew Brensilver, Ph.D., has broad experience as a mindfulness instructor at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, a Buddhist chaplain, psychotherapist, and hospice volunteer. He was trained by Noah Levine, with whom he teaches at Against the Stream in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is now in the Spirit Rock/IMS teacher training program, mentored by Gil Fronsdal. In his academic life, he conducts research on addiction treatment at UCLA’s Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine.

Rev. Sumi Loundon Kim is the Buddhist chaplain at Duke University and minister to the Buddhist Families of Durham (BFD). After receiving a master’s degree in Buddhist studies and Sanskrit from the Harvard Divinity School, she was the associate director for the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Originally brought up in a Soto Zen community in the 70s, she has been following the Theravada lineage since her teens. She is working on a Dharma curriculum for adults and children, forthcoming from Wisdom Publications, and has previously published two anthologies about young Buddhists, among other articles and chapters.

, Matthew and Sumi!

In the Dharma,
Kim Allen
BIN President

Volunteer with the Buddhist Insight Network

BIN is seeking volunteers to help with the resources we offer to the community. We have both short-term project opportunities and ongoing needs. Here are some of the areas:
  • Journalist and editor expertise for Heartwood
  • Interest in learning about (ie, researching and writing up) Buddhist volunteer opportunities worldwide
  • Interest in creating a "sangha starter kit" with key information for new or growing groups
If any of these resonate, or if you have other ideas, please send email to

Support the Buddhist Insight Network

BIN operates on a donation basis. If you would like to support the publication of Heartwood, BIN's online resources, or the annual InterSangha gathering, your generosity is greatly appreciated! BIN's Donation Page.

Insight Retreat Teacher Survey

By Kim Allen and Matthew Brensilver
The Insight Meditation Movement that BIN helps to connect and serve is of course intimately tied to the Insight teachers who offer the instructions and guidance. Most practitioners in the movement feel connected to one or more of these teachers through their local sangha, attending retreats, or listening to talks online.
Perhaps surprisingly, there is little top-level information about teaching as a livelihood. In contrast to some other Buddhist movements and traditions, the community of Insight teachers is relatively decentralized. Although this may have important positive benefits, it leaves a gap in our knowledge of how Insight teachers are faring and what kinds of support are most needed. 
In response to this, BIN conceived a survey that would assess current trends among lay Insight meditation retreat teachers. We did not focus on community teachers at this time. In Dec 2013, we distributed an online survey to about 173 retreat teachers and received responses from 104. Twenty-three self-identified as being on the Teacher's Council at a major retreat center, 57 are unaffiliated, and 24 are in the current cohort of retreat teacher trainees. A few results relevant to the wider community are summarized here.
First, some demographics. Forty-four percent of current teachers are aged 60 or more.  Only 30% are younger than 50.  On the one hand, this testifies to the extensive training and experience of our Insight teachers.  On the other hand, this demographic profile may present a challenge in meeting increasing demand for Insight retreats.
The gender balance of the teachers approximates general population distributions, as does sexual orientation.  In terms of ethnicity, white/Caucasian teachers comprised 87% of the sample. The current cohort of teacher trainees is not appreciably more diverse.  Given the myriad benefits of a diverse teaching community, the importance of ongoing efforts to diversify the base of Insight teachers is highlighted by these data. 
Many retreat teachers are inspired by the motivation to share the Dharma as an expression of compassion and insight.  And at the same time, the Insight movement has many lay teachers who live within the regular society and without the cultural structures that support monastic teachers. Teachers have all the expected expenses and may additionally be supporting a family. A teacher may not be teaching in order to earn money, but because she is teaching, she needs to earn money. 
Many retreat teachers are heavily reliant on the dana system, and often encounter uncertainty about their income. This uncertainty did not dampen the general enthusiasm for the dana system. Overall, 74% were satisfied with the dana system, and only 13% expressed dissatisfaction. 

A significant number of teachers expressed concern about retirement funds and disruptions of income due to health issues interfering with teaching. Furthermore, a majority of teachers pay for health costs out-of-pocket. Forty-eight percent of teachers report that health insurance costs are either somewhat or very burdensome. This is an area of financial pressure for our teachers. 
The survey results raise some concrete questions regarding practical support: How might we generate funds to supplement teachers’ medical and retirement needs? How can more teachers have access to administrative and other practical support? How can teachers be supported to teach retreat when they have family responsibilities?
Despite some issues, the overall picture of retreat teaching is generally quite positive. We have a large number of established teachers who have practiced and taught for decades, and we are additionally training new teachers at a high rate. Teachers are generally pleased with the amount they are teaching, and teacher trainees are optimistic about their teaching future. It is a time of growth and opportunity for the movement. All of this offers great promise to share the Dharma widely for the benefit of many people.
BIN encourages sanghas and individual practitioners to reflect on and discuss these results.


Interview with Noah Levine: ATS and Refuge Recovery

By Mary Stancavage, Director of Against the Stream and BIN Board Member

Noah Levine is the founding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, which has just celebrated its sixth anniversary in Los Angeles. Noah is the author of four books including Dharma Punx, which tells his story, and the forthcoming Refuge Recovery. Noah has been practicing for over 25 years and was trained to teach by Jack Kornfield.

Against the Stream:

Heartwood: How did Against the Stream (ATS) come about?

Noah Levine: I was in Los Angeles after having been in New York for a couple of years. I was teaching a couple of groups a week and the community was strong. I don’t remember how the conversation started but I think it was me and one other sangha member asking the question, what if we had a center. When she offered to give some money I looked around and said, who else? A core group of people came together and we started a non-profit. Then we went to the community and a few other people donated some money and we found a place and signed a lease. It was this organic start: one person saying I’ll give some money and me saying, okay, let’s try it.

HW: How big a world do you think ATS is today and where you see it heading?

NL: I don’t really know the answer, but probably thousands. In the number of people who go to our website and sign up for emails we have about 15,000. How many of them are actually practicing and attending groups — well, in Los Angeles we have close to 400-500 people a week coming into each of our centers, and in San Francisco and New York maybe a couple hundred people. So right there in the big, main communities you have 1,500 people. Nashville probably has a hundred people a week. Then Austin, Portland, and Seattle each have a few dozen people, and there are groups all over the place, even in the Netherlands and Vancouver. My sense is that it's thousands.

And I do see it growing. We’re about to open the San Francisco center. My intention is to open a center in New York City next, and I’d like to see more and more Against the Stream community-based centers. In the long run I’d love to see us have our own retreat center. I see us being a growing, viable, healthy place for people to not only get introduced to practice, but to have the opportunity to do long term retreat practice. I don’t know how that will unfold, but I do have the intention for that to happen for our community.

HW: Do you see ATS being in the Spirit Rock/IMS world, or outside it?

NL: I see it very much a part of the Western Insight lineage of course, since I was trained by Jack and studied with Joseph and Sharon and many of the senior teachers over the last 25 years. That is my lineage. But as lineages go, maybe there is the image of a tree, and the roots are the Theravada tradition.

Even in the Theravada lineage, American Insight is a branch off of the roots -- we’re not strictly Thai or Burmese. And then within the American Insight tradition, ATS feels like it’s a new branch with new foliage. It’s not Spirit Rock, it’s not IMS, it’s intentionally not called Insight. I don’t like removing Buddhism from the title of our community, so instead of being an Insight Meditation Society, we’re a Buddhist Meditation Society. I’m very committed to Buddhism and not saying we’re some kind of secular Buddhist group. So we’re very much within the lineage, but a new branch.

HW: The question always comes up with ATS and before that, Dharma Punx, about the seemingly different community that’s drawn to it. Is it more hard core? Or is there some reason why you think that has happened.

NL: I’m sure that because of my youth, my personality, my sub-cultural connections to Generation X, punk rock, my addiction and recovery stuff and because of who I am, we attract much more of a recovery crowd, much more of people who have been in trouble with the law, much more sort of fringe people because I’m a fringe person. That makes sense. I wouldn’t say it’s more or less hard core Buddhism although sometimes I’m more fundamentalist around Theravada Buddhism than some other teachers are. I can be a little bit dismissive of non-sutta based teachings. Not that that is necessarily a good thing, but it’s true for me. 

But ATS is also very mixed. There are so many people in our community who are the “usual Buddhist suspects” you would see at any center. In Los Angeles we have a crossover between InsightLA and Against the Stream. There are straight doctors, therapists, lawyers, the usual gray-hairs as well. Some them love our community and love the edginess and alternative way that we do show up and the transparency in the way I teach and most of the teachers in our community teach. That having been said, you’re not going to learn anything different from us than you’ll learn from any other Insight group. You’re going to learn mindfulness, you’re going to learn the Eightfold Path, you’re going to learn the Brahma Viharas. It’s going to be taught in our community in a way that is perhaps a bit more transparent. I and the other teachers will speak much more from direct experience. We’ll speak much more about what we’re currently suffering about and how the Dharma is helping to transform that.

Refuge Recovery

HW: Refuge Recovery is the name of your new book that is coming out in June. Would you like to talk about the book and what Refuge Recovery is?

NL: Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist approach to treating alcoholism and addiction based on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. It’s a fairly straightforward approach but some of it has been tweaked and edited to fit recovery. There are a few things in Refuge Recovery that are not in the Eightfold Path, such as sangha, community or taking refuge in the Three Gems. For example, under Right Speech, I made it Right Communication/Community and wrote about the importance for the addict to have sangha and community to support them in the process of recovery. The Third Noble Truth, rather than being about enlightenment being possible, is an encouragement for the alcoholic to take refuge in the potential of their recovery, of their healing and awakening, and ultimately their liberation. So there are some places I’m editing it and finessing the Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths, but it’s a straightforward Theravadan approach to life.

The book is written specifically for addicts. The First Noble Truth is that addiction is suffering, and the Second Noble Truth is that there is a cause of suffering behind addiction. The Third Noble Truth is that recovery from addiction, or the end of suffering, is possible. We’ve had meetings in Los Angeles for about five years, and although this is something that I came up with, it’s been implemented by our community for all this time. I’ve had feedback and meetings and groups that have helped me say that works or this doesn’t work, change this or leave that. So it really feels that it’s a group effort. In fact I wrote the book in the plural saying, this is what we do rather than that my other books which talk about what the Buddha taught and what I think about it. I’m taking myself out of this one a little bit, but of course it’s still coming through my experience.

I’m really excited about Refuge Recovery and I have a hope that sanghas all over will start meetings. And I ask members of the Buddhist Insight Network to consider starting a Refuge Recovery meeting at their centers or their groups. There are so many recovering people or people who need recovery who seek Buddhism as a refuge. Up until now recovering addicts involved in Buddhism did not have a place to talk about addiction. They have to go to the Judeo-Christian-based 12-Step rooms. The feedback we get over and over again in our Los Angeles sangha is that it’s so refreshing to have Buddhism or the Dharma and recovery in the same conversation. I request the Insight groups get behind this and consider starting Refuge Recovery groups.

HW: How does this fit in with Against the Stream? Do you see it as part of, or separate from?

NL:  I think it is something that has grown out of the Against the Stream community but that ultimately will be bigger than ATS and separate. I think that ATS is the lineage of teachers that I’ve trained and communities that I’ve started or influenced. I think Refuge will be a bigger and more autonomous, organic process that won’t have the oversight that ATS has. It’s an offering for people to take it and make it their own. I’m actually quite happy if other traditions take Refuge and make it more of a Mahayana or Vajrayana or Zen approach using the outline we have, sticking with the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path. But I’m happy if they want to add Bodhisattvas or anything else. I feel ATS is the Insight and Theravada tradition, and I want it to stay that way. I’m much looser with Refuge.

HW: How are you inspired by your students, and their changes and transformations?

NL: I am very inspired, and I have an interesting relationship to it. Of course when I see someone having a good or pleasant transformation experience I’m happy for them, but I have to admit that I’m more happy when I see somebody going through the really difficult stuff that’s not pleasant but is very much transformative. I’m not sure exactly why I take more joy in somebody’s good kind of suffering than I do in somebody feeling happy. It may be a little bit of a shadow for me that I’m skeptical when people say, “I’m good” too quickly. I have a sense that real transformation takes long-term hard work. Some difficult truths will arise. Bad news is part of the insight and transformation. But I feel really happy to see people learning and applying the practice, and seeing the positive changes that come from practice.

HW: Anything else you would like the Buddhist Insight Network community to know?

NL: I feel very happy about the Buddhist Insight Network. I think it's important for us to have connections - we can do more good together than each doing our own little separate things. I’m happy that Gil and Kim and everyone behind BIN is welcoming and including Against the Stream, and that they understand that we are an Insight community. I feel really happy about being part of this national and international movement.I’m committed to being part of the larger Insight community, even if at times ATS is seen as kind of fringe.

Image courtesy of Against the Stream

ABET: Creating a Teacher Support Fund

By Ramsey Margolis, Co-founder of Aotearoa Buddhist Education Trust

There are just 4.5 million people in New Zealand, and the country has no full-time insight meditation teachers who have an ongoing relationship with Spirit Rock or IMS. To support the development of practice communities, I helped set up a charitable trust to cover travel expenses for teachers to come here from overseas. In this article, I share the story of this process in the hope that practitioners in areas with few teachers might find it useful.
In 2000, looking for a more secular approach to meditation and Buddhism than I had until then found here, I stumbled across recorded talks by Gil Fronsdal online and thought his teachings were simple, down-to-earth, and eye wateringly wonderful. By the time went live a year later, I was a regular and grateful listener.
For a number of years, I ran a small sitting group In New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. I started sending out an email to let people know what was happening, and very soon a newsletter was going all over New Zealand. From time to time, we would bring teachers to Wellington to offer daylong and residential retreats.
As a practitioner, it was impossible not to notice that the teachings we could download were much deeper and more heartful. I came to believe that to develop the practice community here in Wellington and help people set up similar groups in other parts of New Zealand, we needed to bring overseas teachers more often.
A small number of teachers had travelled to New Zealand, usually combining a visit here with a trip to our more populous neighbour, Australia. We were fortunate that a couple of teachers made a point of coming regularly, building up a following with well attended retreats at Te Moata Retreat Centre on the North Island, and with Southern Insight on the South Island. Having run a number of retreats, it was clear that flying people here made offering teachings more expensive than most New Zealanders could afford.
So, in 2009, four of us set up Aotearoa Buddhist Education Trust (ABET) to support the travel expenses incurred bringing teachers to New Zealand. As a charitable trust – more or less the equivalent of a 501(c)3 in the USA – our aims are firstly to inform people about retreats by excellent teachers, secondly encourage the practice of generosity, and thirdly seek funds to enable more affordable retreats. In that order.
At, we offer people the opportunity to support a particular teacher’s visit or the trust in general. It’s possible to make a one-off donation by debit or credit card, or by bank transfer, or to set up a regular automatic payment.
Donating to a charitable trust, New Zealand taxpayers can receive a tax rebate on what they give. My hope was this would encourage people to give a small amount regularly using the government’s Payroll Giving programme, through which a $10 deduction from someone’s wage or salary results in an immediate $15 donation to their choice of charity.
The trust was set up, and it was well publicised around the country. ABET is listed in each INSIGHTAotearoa, the national newsletter, and on one occasion, we even placed a small ad in Inquiring Mind.
However, interest has been slight. Since May 2009, ABET has raised $6,000, with which we have supported six teachers to offer seven retreats.
To my surprise, we encountered significant antipathy: for instance, a local teacher told us that using a trust to bring in donations toward travel costs amounted to ‘asking for money for the dharma’. On the contrary, we believe a key purpose of our trust is to create a channel for people to act on their heartfelt wish to offer something for the teachings, particularly those who are unable to attend a particular retreat and want to support others to do so.
Clearly, there is still work to do to establish an understanding of dana (koha in Maori) and teacher support here. ABET is one way this model is manifesting in New Zealand, and it is not yet a success.
Nevertheless, I believe the idea behind ABET is good, and as I write this I wonder if something similar can be put to use in other countries, even in parts of the USA without practice communities. The more programmes like ABET that are created and offered, the more awareness there will be of the issue of teacher support.

Community News

BIN is happy to announce the addition of a new resource page on our website: Dharma and Buddhist Studies. This is intended for people seeking deeper study into Buddhism. We differentiate Dharma Studies from Buddhist Studies: Dharma Studies is intended for practitioners, who may or may not have interest in scholarship, while Buddhist Studies is more for scholars who may or may not be practitioners. The Buddhist Studies section includes resources for learning the Pali language. We also list Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Buddhist Chaplaincy training programs.

We hope this will be a valuable resource that supports your further practice and study.
We differentiate Dharma Studies from Buddhist Studies: Dharma Studies is intended for practitioners, who may or may not have interest in scholarship, while Buddhist Studies is more for scholars who may or may not be practitioners. The Buddhist Studies section includes resources for learning the Pali language. We also list Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Buddhist Chaplaincy training programs. - See more at:

Spring 2014 Retreat and Dharma Program Announcements

A Call for Program Announcements

BIN welcomes announcements from Insight groups and teachers for publication in the BIN newsletter. It is an opportunity to inform the wider Insight community about programs, retreats, classes, and other happenings. It is especially useful to publish items that would be accessible to many people across the community.
We are working on standardizing the formats. For now, items may be sent to or through the Contact page of our website (there is a Dharma Program Announcements category in the pulldown menu)
The following Guidelines shape what we publish:
  • Announcements come from Buddhist Insight groups and teachers, and are for Dharma-related programs
  • Announcements are for specific events/programs, not for ongoing events
  • At this time, we do not include announcements/advertisements for professional services or about secular mindfulness programs
  • Please include a website or contact email for further info, if possible
  • Announcements may be up to 125 words (more than 125 words, the announcement becomes an article and goes through a different process for inclusion)

Spring 2014 Program Announcements:

In the future, BIN will create a Retreat Database with a way to enter data in a standard format. For now, we accept entries by email.


Annual Yucca Valley retreat with Jack Kornfield (May 2-11, 2014, Yucca Valley CA): Teachers: Jack Kornfield, Trudy Goodman, Howard Cohn, Winifred Nazarko, Wes Nisker, Noah Levine, JoAnna Harper, Franz Moeckl (qigong). For over 30 years Jack Kornfield has been making an annual pilgrimage to the high and spacious desert of Yucca Valley. This retreat is an opportunity to practice in the serene and natural beauty of the high desert in full bloom. The beautiful desert environment becomes a mirror for the beauty of the unfolding heart and the spaciousness of mind achieved through the meditation practice. Join Jack and other Spirit Rock teachers to deeply experience the dharma in this favorable combination of conditions and teachings.

Against the Stream Memorial Day Mindfulness Retreat with Noah Levine (May 23-26, 2014, Yucca Valley CA): This silent retreat with Noah is a chance to experience an extended period of meditation that is so vital to our practice. There will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, with instructions and daily Dharma talks. Details and registration.

Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight Meditation Retreat with Shaila Catherine and Ann Dillon (June 12-22, 2014, Santa Rosa CA): The teachings on this retreat are structured to support a range of meditative interests including mindfulness of body, investigation of mind, deep concentration, loving kindness, and insight contemplations. Guided by group and individual meetings with the teacher, students may work with a variety of meditative approaches, to progress in a manner and pace appropriate to their individual needs. An optional daily instruction session will introduce mindfulness with breathing as a concentration practice and systematically develop the skills that lead to the deep absorption states of jhana. More info and registration.

Lost Coast Retreat (June 14-27 or 14-21, 2014, Lost Coast, CA): With Susie Harrington and Ayya Anandabodhi. A residential retreat at a remote oceanside house on the spectacular Lost Coast of northern California. Participants will hike in 9 miles along the seashore, and will need to carry some of their personal gear. Camping and inside accommodations are available. This year the retreat has the option of the first week, or both weeks.

Mindful Communication: The Path of Wise Speech with Donald Rothberg and Oren Nyaniko Sofer (Spirit Rock June 15-21, Omega Institute August 17-22) Integrating meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring deeply-held values into our daily lives and actions in the world. Wise Speech Retreats connect mindfulness and lovingkindness practice, the Buddha's teachings on Right Speech, and Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Through a combination of silent meditation, relational awareness practices and interactive exercises, participants will develop a stronger sense of presence, greater access to compassion and more versatile, clearer communication. Appropriate for both experienced and newer students, therapists and other helping professionals. Read more and register.

Insight Retreat Center (Santa Cruz, CA): IRC is offering these and other retreats (registration available at All IRC retreats are offered freely at no cost to anyone who participates. Most of the financial support comes from donations participants offer at the end of retreats. Their generosity is what allows others to participate in future retreats.
  • Just Sitting, Clear Seeing: Zen and the Art of Insight with Gil Fronsdal, Mel Weitsman, and Max Erdstein, May 4-11, 2014 (7 nights)
  • Insight Retreat with Gil Fronsdal and Adrianne Ross, May 30-Jun 7 (8 nights)
  • Insight Retreat with Ines Freedman and Bob Stahl, June 20-22 (2 nights)
  • Insight Retreat in Spanish, with Rebecca Bradshaw, assisted by Andrea Castillo, June 26-29 (3 nights)
  • Mindfulness of Mind Retreat with Andrea Fella, July 12-26 (14 nights)
  • Insight Retreat with Andrea Fella and Pamela Weiss, Aug 13-17 (4 nights)


Insight Retreat: When Things Fall Apart with Terry Ray (Apr 24-27, 2014, Loveland CO): More info about this retreat at Contact: Tracy Walters.

Cascadia Insight Dialogue Retreat with Gregory Kramer and Mary Burns (May 3-11, 2014, Samish Island WA): For each of us, the body is home. As humans, we are sensitive to light and sound and vibrate deeply with every interpersonal contact. Recognizing our common foundations, the shared legacy of suffering is understood anew. Through practice, loving-kindness becomes a lived experience that encompasses each and every specific person we encounter here and now — whether he or she is a loved one or an enemy. In this retreat, we will maintain noble silence as a support for traditional meditation and Insight Dialogue. There will be time in nature to support ease and solitude. For more information:

Vipassana Meditation in Nature with Johann Robbins and Peter Williams (June 20-23, 2014, Estes Park CO): The Buddha lived and taught outdoors, and most of the traditions of Buddhism were developed in nature. Mindfulness and silence deepen our experience of nature and beauty, while intimacy with plants, animals and the elements enhance our sense of oneness. The retreat will be entirely in Rocky Mountain National Park, where we will be car camping in a developed campground. Details and registration at

Vipassana Retreat with Johann Robbins (July 23-29, 2014, Collegiate Peaks Wiilderness Base Camp CO):This is a silent Vipassana meditation retreat in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The powerful wilderness setting creates sacred time as we walk about 40 minutes up an easy and almost level trail toour beautiful streamside base camp, and practice together for seven days. Details and registration at

Green River Wilderness Canoe Retreat with Johann Robbins and David Loy (Aug 21-31, 2014, Canyonlands National Park UT): A wilderness meditation retreat on the river with Impermanent Sangha is a unique opportunity to experience the powerful support of the natural world for deep practice. The beauty and spaciousness of the river help quiet the mind, while practicing and canoeing as a group brings a strong sense of connection and community. Details and registration at

Women's Meditation Retreats with Terry Ray (three options): More info about these retreats at Contact for all three: Cindy, 970-406-0433
  • May 23-25, 2014, Estes Park CO
  • Jul 23-27, 2014, Vail CO
  • Oct 22-26, 2014, Estes Park CO

Metta for Women with Adrianne Ross and Susie Harrington (Nov 20-24, 2014, Cloud Mountain WA): When we practice Metta, we awaken to our own intrinsic wholeness, peacefulness and kindess, and we provide an opportunity to deepen our equanimity. There will be specific instruction in Metta and in walking meditation, mindful movement and a dharma talk each day, group interviews and opportunities for discussion with the teacher. This silent retreat is suitable for beginning and experienced students of meditation. Details and registration.

Midwest and Texas


Against the Stream Relational Mindfulness Retreat with Pablo Das and Jessica Morey (Apr 24-27, 2014, Canaan NY): The teachings of the Buddha are not just about individual liberation, they are also relational. Four of the eight "folds" of the eightfold path (the most standard presentation of the Buddha's teachings) are overtly about how we are in relationship to others. This retreat, held in the container of noble silence, will offer the opportunity to practice both in individual silence as well as in relationship with others. Details and registration.

Against the Stream East Coast retreat (Aug 3-10, 2014, Earthdance Retreat, MA). Details to come:

Mindful Communication: The Path of Wise Speech with Donald Rothberg and Oren Nyaniko Sofer (Spirit Rock June 15-21, Omega Institute August 17-22) Integrating meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring deeply-held values into our daily lives and actions in the world. Wise Speech Retreats connect mindfulness and lovingkindness practice, the Buddha's teachings on Right Speech, and Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Through a combination of silent meditation, relational awareness practices and interactive exercises, participants will develop a stronger sense of presence, greater access to compassion and more versatile, clearer communication. Appropriate for both experienced and newer students, therapists and other helping professionals. Read more and register.

Europe and Israel

Tovana is offering three retreats with Shaila Catherine in Ein Dor, Israel. Contact for more information.
  • Awakening with Insight (Apr 16-21)
  • Training in Happiness (Apr 21-28)
  • Intention and the Power of Thought (May 1-3)
Residential Weekend with Catherine McGee (Sep 12-14, 2014, Beeley, Derbyshire, UK): Further information on
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