Insight Meditation SocietyFounded in 1975, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) is a 501 (c) (3) religious nonprofit organization.
On Valentines Day, 1976, a small group of young meditation teachers and dedicated staff opened a retreat center in an old but stately mansion in Barre, Massachusetts. Armed with minimal resources and less than ideal operational knowledge, yet passionate about the Buddha’s teachings, they set about creating an environment where the dharma could flourish and take root in the West. And so IMS began.
Over its history, IMS has become a spiritual home to thousands of practitioners, and is now regarded as one of the Western world’s most respected centers for learning and deepening meditation practice.
The organization operates two meditation retreat facilities – theRetreat Center and the Forest Refuge. Both are set on some 200 secluded wooded acres in the quiet country of central Massachusetts.
IMS is a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart. We offer meditation retreats rooted in the Theravada Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration and wisdom. These practices help develop awareness and compassion in ourselves, giving rise to greater peace and happiness in the world.
The Retreat Center started its program of silent meditation courses in 1976. It offers a full yearly schedule of about 30 meditation courses, ranging in duration from a weekend to three months. Most retreats run for 7-9 days.
All retreats provide instruction and practice in insight (vipassana) and/or lovingkindness (metta) meditations.
In addition to the insight and lovingkindness meditation courses, a range of diverse retreats is also taught — a people of color retreat, a course for teens (aged 14-19), a young adults retreat (for 18-32 year olds), a women’s retreat and a course for families, designed to integrate meditation into daily life.
All courses are led by recognized insight meditation teachers from around the world.
The Forest Refuge opened in 2003. There, experienced vipassana meditators can undertake a more independent, less-structured personal retreat, exploring freedom within a supportive environment. The duration of personal retreats ranges from seven nights to stays of a year or more.
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The month-long Working Guest positions are designed for those who want to volunteer at IMS and integrate practice with daily life, all within a supportive and friendly environment. Applicants must already have an established meditation practice, and retreat experience at IMS of at least two week-long retreats.
Working Guest volunteers work alongside our Facilities staff in exchange for meals, housing, and access to the retreat environment and staff community. There are also regular interviews about meditation with our Resident Teacher(s). Work is approximately 30 hours per week, with two days off each week.
In the warmer weather, tasks include gardening, maintenance of lawns and trails, and tree husbandry. As well, help may be needed indoors on general maintenance or housekeeping projects, such as painting or window washing. Work during the winter months includes snow removal and indoor work such as deep cleaning, laundry and other activities.
Landscaping and maintenance experience is preferred but not required.
Month-long Working Guest tasks are at times strenuous and physically demanding, so it is essential that applicants are fit and in good health.To apply
If you are interesting in applying, please use this form.
Working Guest Application Form (PDF)
Working Guest Application Form (Interactive PDF; requires Adobe Reader XI)Contact
For questions regarding this program, please contact Anna Ossenfort at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-355-4378 ext. 225.Thank you for your interest in serving IMS!
: Insight Meditation Society
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